By John Lee.

Philippines-based International Terminal Container Services Inc. (ICTSI) has reportedly allocated additional funds for capacity expansion at its Basra Gateway Terminal (BGT) at the Port of Umm Qasr.

Rafael Consing, ICTSI chief financial officer, is quoted by the Philippine Daily Inquirer as saying that this year’s capex budget of $380 million will be invested at its four ports in Manila, Mexico, Honduras, and Iraq.

(Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer)

A former business partner of a U.S. military contractor was sentenced today to 18 months in prison for his role in a years-long scheme to bribe U.S. Army contracting officials stationed at a U.S. military base in Kuwait during the Iraq War.

Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Special Agent in Charge Matthew J. DeSarno of the FBI’s Washington Field Office’s Criminal Division, Director Frank Robey of the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command’s Major Procurement Fraud Unit and Special Agent in Charge Robert E. Craig Jr. of the Defense Criminal Investigative Service’s (DCIS) Mid-Atlantic Field Office made the announcement.

Finbar Charles, 62, a citizen of Saint Lucia most recently residing in Baguio City, Philippines, was sentenced by Chief U.S. District Judge Karon O. Bowdre of the Northern District of Alabama.  Chief Judge Bowdre also ordered Charles to forfeit $228,558 in illicit gains.  Charles pleaded guilty in July 2018 to one count of bribery of a federal official.

According to admissions made in connection with his guilty plea, Charles was a business partner of a former U.S. military contractor, Terry Hall.  As Hall’s business partner, Charles admitted that he facilitated Hall and others in providing millions of dollars in bribes in approximately 2005 to 2007 to various U.S. Army officials in exchange for preferential treatment for Hall’s companies in connection with Department of Defense (DOD) contracts to deliver bottled water and construct security fencing to support U.S. troops stationed in Kuwait and Iraq.

As part of his role in this criminal conspiracy, Charles admitted that he managed bank accounts in Kuwait and the Philippines that he used to receive Department of Defense payments and transfer illegal bribes to various U.S. Army contracting officials, including Majors Eddie Pressley, James Momon, and Chris Murray.

All of those individuals, as well as at least 10 other coconspirators, have pleaded guilty or been convicted of crimes relating to this scheme.  Charles admitted that he falsified loan and consulting agreements to conceal the true nature of the bribe payments to the Army officers, and that he personally received over $228,000 in illicit gains as a result of his participation.

This case was investigated by the DCIS, the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command, the FBI and the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction.  The Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs provided substantial assistance in this matter.  The case was prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Peter N. Halpern and Robert J. Heberle of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section.

(Source: US Dept of Justice)

Former Business Partner of U.S. Military Contractor Pleads Guilty to Bribery Scheme Related to Contracts in Support of Iraq War

A former business partner of a U.S. military contractor pleaded guilty today to one count of bribery for his role in a years-long scheme to bribe U.S. Army contracting officials stationed at a U.S. military base in Kuwait, announced Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.

According to the plea filed today in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama, Finbar Charles, 62, a citizen of Saint Lucia most recently residing in Baguio City, Philippines, was a business partner of a former U.S. military contractor, Terry Hall.

As Hall’s business partner, Charles facilitated Hall and others in providing millions of dollars in bribes in approximately 2005 to 2007 to various U.S. Army officials in exchange for preferential treatment for Hall’s companies in connection with Department of Defense (DOD) contracts to deliver bottled water and construct security fencing to support U.S. troops stationed in Kuwait and Iraq.

As part of his role in this criminal conspiracy, Charles managed bank accounts in Kuwait and the Philippines that he used to receive DOD payments and transfer illegal bribes to various U.S. Army contracting officials, including Majors Eddie Pressley, John Cockerham, James Momon, and Chris Murray.

All of those individuals, as well as at least 10 other coconspirators, have pleaded guilty or been convicted of crimes relating to this scheme.  Charles admitted that he personally received over $228,000 in illicit gains as a result of his participation.

The sentencing is set for Nov. 26.

This case was investigated by the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command, the FBI, and the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction.  The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Peter N. Halpern and Robert J. Heberle of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section.

(Source: US Dept of Justice)

By John Lee.

Philippines-based International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI) has started its second phase investment in new container terminal infrastructure well underway at its Basra Gateway Terminal (BGT) at the Port of Umm Qasr.

The company said in a statement:

ICTSI is unique in demonstrating its commitment to the Iraqi ports sector via large scale investment in new terminal infrastructure and container handling systems. On completion of the current second phase expansion scheme, ICTSI will have invested in excess of USD250 million, the lion’s share of which is for a new berth, yard construction, and state-of-the-art handling equipment.

The phase two expansion, to be completed in stages by Q3 2019, will deliver 400 meters of new quay with a draft of 14 meters, alongside a new 30-hectare yard area and a 15-hectare secure parking area.

Three post-Panamax ship-to-shore cranes would likewise be installed along the quay, and seven rubber tired gantries (RTG) will provide state-of-the-art stacking and handling power in the yard area. The overall design provides for handling container vessels of up to 9,000 TEU capacity. Upon completion of the second phase, BGT will have an annual handling capacity of over one million TEUs.

The second phase development was triggered by strong demand, a reflection of the high service levels and modern facilities offered by BGT to shipping lines and cargo owners.

Underlining BGT’s ongoing commitment to maintaining high service levels, the latest round of development also includes the acquisition of a cutter suction dredger with the dual objective of ensuring strict adherence to the construction schedule and maintaining draft alongside the terminal’s new and existing births.

“We are listening to our customers and are proactively meeting their needs,” says Phillip Marsham, BGT executive officer.

“The second phase expansion will not only allow us to respond immediately to scale needs, but also deliver added flexibility to the whole container handling operation with diverse benefits flowing to our customers,” he adds.

In Q1 2017, BGT completed the first phase of its terminal greenfield project, which included the construction of a new 250-meter berth and a 15-hectare yard area.

Last year also saw BGT’s expansion of its service portfolio with the development of quay and yard areas configured for the safe and efficient handling of oil and gas project cargoes, allowing BGT to establish successful partnerships with the oil and gas industry.

Operations at Berth 21 likewise commenced in January 2018, introducing a dedicated roll-on, roll-off (ro-ro) facility, where international standard operational practices remain.

“Our commitment to helping Iraq develop international standard port infrastructure continues to expand,” says Hans-Ole Madsen, ICTSI senior vice president and regional head of Europe, Middle East, and Africa.

“We invested for the long term in fixed infrastructure since day one. We continue to receive strong and most encouraging assistance from the General Company for Ports in Iraq and other government bodies in this respect. We are confident that we can continue to build on this productive partnership to the benefit of port users and the country as a whole,” Madsen underlined.

ICTSI’s USD250 million investment in BGT will progressively deliver world-class multipurpose cargo handling facilities and unparalleled efficiencies to the Port of Umm Qasr, including the capability to service larger, new generation box ships.

International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI) continues its pioneering work in Iraq’s port sector with its second phase investment in new container terminal infrastructure well underway at its Basra Gateway Terminal (BGT) at the Port of Umm Qasr.

ICTSI is unique in demonstrating its commitment to the Iraqi ports sector via large scale investment in new terminal infrastructure and container handling systems. On completion of the current second phase expansion scheme, ICTSI will have invested in excess of USD250 million, the lion’s share of which is for a new berth, yard construction, and state-of-the-art handling equipment.

The phase two expansion, to be completed in stages by Q3 2019, will deliver 400 meters of new quay with a draft of 14 meters, alongside a new 30-hectare yard area and a 15-hectare secure parking area.

Three post-Panamax ship-to-shore cranes would likewise be installed along the quay, and seven rubber tired gantries (RTG) will provide state-of-the-art stacking and handling power in the yard area. The overall design provides for handling container vessels of up to 9,000 TEU capacity. Upon completion of the second phase, BGT will have an annual handling capacity of over one million TEUs.

The second phase development was triggered by strong demand, a reflection of the high service levels and modern facilities offered by BGT to shipping lines and cargo owners.

Underlining BGT’s ongoing commitment to maintaining high service levels, the latest round of development also includes the acquisition of a cutter suction dredger with the dual objective of ensuring strict adherence to the construction schedule and maintaining draft alongside the terminal’s new and existing births.

“We are listening to our customers and are proactively meeting their needs,” says Phillip Marsham, BGT executive officer.

“The second phase expansion will not only allow us to respond immediately to scale needs, but also deliver added flexibility to the whole container handling operation with diverse benefits flowing to our customers,” he adds.

In Q1 2017, BGT completed the first phase of its terminal greenfield project, which included the construction of a new 250-meter berth and a 15-hectare yard area.

Last year also saw BGT’s expansion of its service portfolio with the development of quay and yard areas configured for the safe and efficient handling of oil and gas project cargoes, allowing BGT to establish successful partnerships with the oil and gas industry.

Operations at Berth 21 likewise commenced in January 2018, introducing a dedicated roll-on, roll-off (ro-ro) facility, where international standard operational practices remain.

“Our commitment to helping Iraq develop international standard port infrastructure continues to expand,” says Hans-Ole Madsen, ICTSI senior vice president and regional head of Europe, Middle East, and Africa.

“We invested for the long term in fixed infrastructure since day one. We continue to receive strong and most encouraging assistance from the General Company for Ports in Iraq and other government bodies in this respect. We are confident that we can continue to build on this productive partnership to the benefit of port users and the country as a whole,” Madsen underlined.

ICTSI’s USD250 million investment in BGT will progressively deliver world-class multipurpose cargo handling facilities and unparalleled efficiencies to the Port of Umm Qasr, including the capability to service larger, new generation box ships.

(Source: ICTSI)

By John Lee.

Philippines-based International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI) has said it has increased its volumes by 12 percent over the past year, mainly due to the continuing volume ramp-up at its terminal at Umm Qasr port.

The company inaugurated the first phase of its $130-million greenfield port development at Basra Gateway Terminal (BGT) in October.

(Source: ICTSI)

By John Lee.

The Philippine embassy in Baghdad has said that the recent opening of ICTSI‘s $130-million port development in Basra opens further possible opportunities in construction and the oil and gas sectors.

In a statement, Chargé d’Affaires Elmer Cato (pictured) expressed the hope that more Filipino companies would explore investment opportunities in Iraq.

Philippine-based ICTSI’s Basra Gateway Terminal (BGT) in Umm Qasr is Iraq’s largest and only deep-water port, providing employment and training to 240 Iraqis

Enrique Razon, ICTSI chairman and president, said:

“We look forward to seeing Basra Gateway Terminal efficiently support the needs of international shipping lines using standards comparable with the region’s best.”

(Sources: Malaya Business Insight, Balita)

By John Lee.

International Container Terminal Services (ICTSI) has officially inaugurated the first phase of its new $130-million greenfield port development at Basra Gateway Terminal (BGT) in Umm Qasr.

Iraq’s Minister of Transport, Kadhem Finjan al-Hamami, attended the ceremony along with ICTSI chairman and president, Enrique K. Razon Jr.

The Philippines-based company signed a 26-year concession with the General Company for Ports of Iraq (GCPI) in 2014 to develop and operate three new berths, in addition to a 10-year agreement to redevelop the existing container terminal at Berth 20.

According to the report from Seatrade Maritime, when fully developed, the new terminal area will comprise 600 meters of quay and 50 hectares of yard area, complementing bulk and general cargo facilities at berth 19 which ICTSI was contracted to manage earlier this year.

(Sources: Seatrade Maritime, Port Technology)

By John Lee.

Philippines-based port company International Container Terminal Services Inc (ICTSI) is to open a new section of its Umm Qasr port in October.

The VP and Head of Asia-Pacific region, Christian Gonzalez, is quoted as saying that the company has allocated $420 million in capital expenditure for 2016, to be used for the completion of the initial stage of new container terminals in Congo and Iraq, and the continuing development of a project in Australia.

(Source: Seatrade)

By John Lee.

Philippines-based International Container Terminal Services (ICTSI) is investing $130 million in Umm Qasr port, according to a report from Reuters.

The Manila-based port management company signed a contract with General Company for Ports of Iraq involving the container facilities at Umm Qasr; it will operate, develop and expand the port.

The three-stage project involves constructing three quays that can handle a cargo of 1,500 containers, in addition to storage yards and installation of six gantry cranes, two for each phase.

Sharif al-Battat, commission manager at ICTSI, said:

“The estimated cost of the project is $140 to $150 million for each stage. Each stage involves construction of a quay and a 200,000 square metre yard opposite to store containers and machinery, which are used to load and unload vessels.

“Within the first phase of the project, a 200-meter long quay has been completed and God willing, it will be operational on August 1 with the arrival of the first vessel and the second will be completed within the coming two years.”

ICTSI will also build a new container and general cargo terminal in the port for a 26-year concession period, and provide container and general cargo terminal services.

According to the head of media relations at Iraqi Ports Company, Anmar al-Safi, the three-phase project will lead to a shipment capacity of three million containers.

The first quay should be operational by August.

(Source: Reuters)

By John Lee.

The Governor of Basra, Majid Al-Nasrawi [Alnasrawi] (pictured), has called on Filipino companies to invest in the province.

During a meeting with the country’s Chargé d’Affaires, Elmer Cato, he stressed that Basra and the rest of southern Iraq remain safe for investors.

Citing the example of the Manila-based International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI), which is investing $130 million [152 billion Iraqi dinars] to expand the country’s main port in Umm Qasr, he said “ICTSI has made a good impression for the Philippines because of its huge investment and its professional way of doing business.

He said Basra has budget to spend for the construction of roads and bridges, power generation, housing, and the rehabilitation of rivers.

He said the Basra Provincial Council has a budget of $5.7 billion to develop infrastructure and other facilities. The World Bank has also recently agreed to provide $350 million to fund the construction of a new road network to Umm Qasr port.

Al-Nasrawi also disclosed his plans to further develop Basra’s health sector so that his constituents would no longer have to go abroad for medical treatment. He cited the recent construction of a modern hospital, which, he said, would require specialists and other health workers from other countries.

Al-Nasrawi, who is a medical doctor, said he would welcome Filipino doctors and nurses in Basra because they are among the best. He also said that he is aware that the Philippines has world-class medical facilities and that he would like to send some of his constituents to Manila for treatment.

(Source: Inquirer)