Discharge of Vallis stock at Aqaba Port onto trucks destined for Amman
On the 30th August 2017, the Jordanian interior ministry announced the reopening of the Iraqi-Jordanian border, known as Tarbil in Iraq and Karameh in Jordan. The border had been closed to commercial traffic since July 2015 in response to increasing financial demands from ‘Islamic State’ operating in Anbar Governate, eastern Iraq.
Before the Tarbil-Karameh border closure, the accompanying Aqaba free trade zone had been a bustling area of warehouses and factories that employed several thousand Jordanians, with a total of $120 million worth of goods being transported to Iraq each month.
Aqaba Port is in the far south of the country, and it is controlled by the Aqaba Ports Corporation (APC). Historically, it has been used by Iraq for imports originating from the west. The main commodity imports through Aqaba are grain, rice, cement and machinery. The cargo tonnage for 2016 was 120,600 tonnes.
The port is separated into 3 sections: the Main Port, consisting of 12 berths, the Container Port, consisting of 9 berths and the Industrial Port, consisting of 4 berths. The Main Port was moved south away from the city in 2006 and can take vessels of up to 70,000 tonnes displacement with a draft of up to 14.4 metres. Each berth has a 35-metres wide apron with most also having sheds and open storage areas.
A considerable increase in trade between Jordan and Iraq is expected as transport costs are likely to decrease. This will bring more opportunities for trade as the Jordanian and Iraqi economies are complementary, each relying on the other’s resources and infrastructure after many years of a co-dependent financial relationship.
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