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UAE-Iraq trade lifted by new freight ferry link

DP World UAE Iraq DP World
The DP World direct freight ferry service between the UAE and Iraq is faster and greener than transporting goods by road
  • DP World transports trailers by sea without driver and truck cab
  • Reduces travel time from up to 14 days to 36 hours
  • Helps lower CO2 emissions from road trucks

DP World has launched the first direct freight ferry service between the UAE and Iraq.

The service, called P&O Maritime Transports – a DP World company, aims to make the flow of goods between the UAE and Iraq faster, safer and more efficient.

It caters for unaccompanied trailers that can be transported by sea without the driver and truck cab.

The service takes around 36 hours to travel between Jebel Ali Port in the UAE and Umm Qasr Port in southern Iraq. It offers a new route between the two countries for road trailers, which can take up to 14 days.

Jesper Kristensen, group chief operating officer of DP World Marine Services, said: “By shipping the trailer alone to Iraq, we expect to remove thousands of trucks from the roads every year, helping our clients reduce their CO2 emissions.”

Unaccompanied trailers are loaded on to roll-on, roll-off freight vessels, leaving the driver and cab behind at the port. When the trailer reaches Umm Qasr Port, an Iraqi truck can drive it to its final destination in the country.

Once delivered the empty trailer is then returned to Umm Qasr and shipped back to Jebel Ali.

Goods transported by road from the UAE to Iraq must be transloaded, a time consuming exercise of transferring cargo from the original truck to a locally-licensed vehicle. 

It is also risky, exposing the cargo in terms of damage, contamination and security.

In 2021, Iraq exported $2.57 billion worth of goods to the UAE. The main products included refined petroleum, gold and petroleum coke, according to the Observatory of Economic Complexity (OEC).

From 2005 through to 2021 Iraqi exports to the UAE increased at an annualised rate of 34.7 percent, from $21.8 million to $2.57 billion.

Exports in the opposite direction in 2021 totalled $14.3 billion, mainly refined petroleum, broadcasting equipment and cars.

Over the last 16 years exports from the UAE to Iraq increased at an annualised rate of 12.5 percent, from $2.16 billion in 2005 to $14.3 billion in 2021.

In February Iraqi prime minister Mohammed Shiaa’ Al Sudani met with UAE president Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan during an official visit to the country.

The two discussed ways to improve political, diplomatic, commercial and economic cooperation.

Meanwhile last April the UAE announced a $3 billion investment in Iraq in a bid to strengthen the economic and investment relations between the two nations.