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Home » Expat Life, Logistics, Middle East, headline

Iraq as an Emerging Market

By Middle East Insider
April 18, 2012

The Middle East logistics market seems to be growing rapidly, particularly in Iraq. As Iraqi infrastructure evolves, the country’s logistical needs and requirements continue to grow and change. In the past few years, logistical support in this part of the world, has become a strong focus area for all players in the logistics arena, and beyond.

This country has a long commercial tradition, and will not take long to recover from recent challenges, especially due to its enormous natural resources. Iraq has the world’s second largest oil reserves. With its strategic airports and ports, this country has the potential to grow into a major cost-effective trading and distribution location in the Middle East region.

After more than a decade of sanctions and conflicts, the Iraqi economy is now growing making this country a key emerging market and attracting foreign investment from around the world. Moreover, changing demographics and increasing population require the construction and development of housing, hospitals, schools, and infrastructure. Such projects will surely create jobs, stimulate the economy, and increase the demand for logistics services.

It is certain that the reconstruction of the country will attract huge investments, domestic and international, which will in turn increase demand for logistics and transport support in all sectors of the economy, from basic infrastructure to sophisticated industries. Logistics and transport services will thus play a crucial role in Iraq’s emergent economy. It is expected the demand will grow in both the public and private sector as the economy develops.

Nevertheless, apart from great logistics opportunities, transportation of cargo to and from Iraq can be a challenging and complicated task. Moving goods to and from Iraq means coping with various requirements and constantly changing rules and regulations, and therefore requires specific experience and expertise.

Move One Logistics offers such expertise and has the necessary resources to handle the country’s most challenging logistical requirements. The company has been active in Iraq since 2003, and has grown into one of the leaders in the country’s logistics arena. An essential part of what has driven Move One to become a leader in its field is the outstanding skill and capacity to operate in the most challenging, demanding and uninviting environments of the world.

As the Iraq market has transitioned its focus from government projects to the commercial sector, particularly oil and gas, Move One Logistics, after nine years of experience in working on military and government projects including infrastructure reconstruction, and the movement of heavy and oversized cargo, pipes and electrical equipment, is directing its logistic operations towards the civil reconstruction and commercial sectors. Following market growth and changing requirements, Move One has positioned itself to make a significant impact on the oil and energy industry, particularly through valuable investments in warehousing facilities and inventory management systems, such as the company’s 42,000 sq metre logistics facility in Southern Iraq.

With four offices strategically located throughout the country, including facilities in Baghdad, Erbil, and Az Zubayr, Move One Logistics has all the essential resources to conduct successful logistics operations and meet the country’s most challenging logistical requirements.

Such requirements, particularly in Iraq, may not always refer to the basic mechanics of import or export, or even to pure handling of cargo, but are often related to emerging local bureaucracy that can be very demanding, and requires local expertise. Therefore, apart from modern equipment and material resources, it is essential that people involved in logistics operations are skilled enough to navigate local bureaucratic procedures. That is why the Move One team in Iraq has a comprehensive understanding of the complex regulatory requirements of the area. This challenging work requires constant training of local staff, as well as sending regional employees on temporary assignments to Iraq.

Although Iraq was recently considered an extremely harsh and unsafe country, the violence rate has dropped significantly, allowing this country to finally experience a certain level of stability and security in all aspects, including civil life and business opportunities. Nowadays, people and goods can move across all 19 provinces in Iraq, helping the economy to recover. In such circumstances, logistics and transport services have become the main driving force and key support to this country’s economic development.

Iraq’s major airports are being renewed. In addition, provincial governments are making efforts to upgrade existing airports and plan the construction of new ones. It is estimated that $50 billion is earmarked on airport expansion projects in Iraq, in addition to over $150 billion under consideration for airport and logistics infrastructure related projects. With rising demands for logistic services, plans are also underway to construct cargo villages, which will include modern equipment and sophisticated technology.

In the meantime, Iraq is investing heavily in an effort to rebuild its oil and gas industry, particularly in the region of Kurdistan. We must remember that the petroleum industry once made Iraq one of the most economically developed countries in the region. If Iraq succeeds in re-energizing its oil and gas industry, it could gain the potential to become the most advanced nation in the Arab world.

In this regard, Move One Logistics is committed to providing transportation and logistics solutions, and innovative ideas to the constantly changing requirements of the oil and gas industry. Apart from growing experience in rig movements, Move One Logistics has also provided project cargo, heavy and over-sized cargo handling, and aircraft and vessel chartering services to the industry.

Nevertheless, after many years of unrest, certain political risks remain, particularly evident in the Iraqi government shortly after the US withdrawal. Other apparent issues to be resolved are mostly related to security matters, bureaucracy, and uncertain regulatory and legal frameworks.

Whilst reconstruction projects and significant investments are driving this growth in the transportation, freight and logistics sectors in Iraq, the industry will now need to focus on specific measures that will ensure the long-term sustainability and viability of this current momentum.

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