North America Western Asia Holdings (NAWAH) announced
Tuesday it has entered an agreement with Iraq’s Ministry of Transportation and the General Company for the Ports of Iraq to modernize Maqal Port, which is located in Basra’s urban center on the Shatt al Arab waterway.
Washington-based NAWAH said it will invest more than $14 million to bring both heavy-lift crane and container handling capabilities to the 93-year-old port. NAWAH will also build a modern container yard adjacent to the port’s berth 14. The company’s agreement with GCPI will extend 10 years.
“The speed at which Iraq can rebuild and become prosperous is greatly dependent upon the capacity of its ports,” said Paul Brinkley, NAWAH’s president and chief executive officer. “The modernization of Maqal Port is an important step in helping Basra regain its status as a key regional trading hub.”
NAWAH said Umm Qasr, 40 miles from downtown Basra, is Iraq’s only other modern port. The new terminal will give Basra merchants and industrial shippers access to a closer container berth.
“Modernizing Maqal Port is one step in Iraq’s greater vision to improve and expand our country’s shipping and port capabilities,” said Hadi Al-Amiri, Iraq’s minister of transportation. “Having an American company like NAWAH commit to our country’s long-term economic growth sends a strong message to other American and international investors that Iraq is truly ripe for investment.”
Brinkley, a former deputy
undersecretary of defense and executive with JDS Uniphase and Nortel Networks, formed NAWAH last year with Thomas J. Pritzker, chairman and CEO of the Pritzker Organization. He is also executive chairman of Hyatt Hotels Corp. and
chairman of Marmon Group.
When the company was formed, they said
NAWAH would aim at "building enduring businesses
in the Middle East and Central Asia." - Chris Dupin