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X. Restore Economically Strategic Transportation Infrastructure

Re-open airports and airspace; Ensure commercial operations of port; operate railroad; repair roads and bridges

Saddam’s Legacy

The transportation sector in Iraq faces significant challenges. Key elements, such as ports and the rail system are obsolete and littered with the debris of neglect, war, and looting. All of the present systems at Iraq’s airports have suffered from neglect in maintenance and 12 years of economic sanctions.

Under the regime of Saddam Hussein, Iraq’s ports were left in disrepair, with numerous wrecks and scrap material in channels, berths, and piers. The UN Development Programme identified 35 wrecks in the port of Umm Qasr and Khawr Az Zubayr. In addition to strewn wrecks, the supply of power is below capacity, reducing container-moving capacity. The New Port section of Umm Qasr is currently using diesel generators; the port needs to be connected to the national power grid to operate at full capacity. For example, the container cranes only operate at 60-75 percent because the diesel generators can produce limited power. Currently, there is no power in the Old Port, and many of the lights and buildings do not have electricity due to the limited number of generators.

Comprising approximately 2400 km of rail track, the Iraqi Republic Railway network is beset by deteriorating quality, enough to substantially slow down rail traffic. In fact, approximately 70% of the rail network suffers from poor track conditions, requiring trains to operate at well below design speed.

Because of the enormous need to deliver humanitarian goods and capital products into Iraq, it is imperative that the airports provide domestic and international service to transfer passengers and cargo. However, under Saddam Hussein, the three main airports—Baghdad, Basrah, and Mosul—suffer from antiquated terminals, ruined buildings, and damaged taxiways and roads. Crash fire and rescue systems are dilapidated. As a result, none of Iraq’s airports meet International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO’s) standards. By failing to meet these aviation safety standards, foreign airlines will either be reluctant or unable to call upon Iraq’s airports.

Coalition Partner Activities to Improve Transportation Sector

CPA partners are focusing on activities that will:

· Enable Iraqi civil aviation to resume international commercial aviation and cargo service

· Enable Iraqi Port Authority to water-based commercial activity and commerce

· Enable Iraqi Republic Railways to provide domestic and international passenger and freight capabilities

· Build the capacity of the Ministry of Transportation

For more information, please contact:

RAILROADS — Gordon Mott, 914-360-2433,

AVIATION—Rocky Swearengin, 914-360-6475,

MARITIME — Wayne Victoria, 914-822-7190,

Or visit:

USAID Transportation Information:


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