Iraq’s Umm Qasr Port now under civilian administration
The US Agency for International Development (USAID) has confirmed that the Iraqi seaport of Umm Qasr is under civilian administration. The seaport, which is the main entryway for cargo, including humanitarian coming into the country, is now officially operated by USAID contractor, Stevedoring Services of America (SSA).
The Washington-based company assumed control of the port from the British 17th Regiment in a small ceremony as the M/V Irazou docked at the port, carrying 14,600 metric tons of bagged rice for the people of Iraq. This is the first reconstruction project in Iraq to be transferred from military to civilian administration.
SSA said that over 3,520 local workers will be phased into the port operations in the days ahead as managers, heavy equipment operators, maintenance workers and other aspects of port management and operation. The newly elected Director General of the Iraqi Ports Authority is working closely with SSA to prioritize needs for staff training and port revitalization.
The seaport administration and management contract is one of eight initial procurement actions issued by USAID as part of its overall relief and reconstruction efforts in Iraq. Under a separate USAID contract, Bechtel Corporation is rebuilding the port administration buildings, installing lighting, restoring utilities, repairing security fences and grain elevators and dredging the port so that larger, bulk grain vessels can offload near the grain elevators. — (menareport.com)
© 2003 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)