Iraq has more than 44,000 kilometres of paved highways, as well as an extensive rural unpaved road system. The highway and bridge system provides the primary surface transportation links connecting Iraq to its neighbours. An integrated road network supports tourism and connects the country’s population centers to essential services, while promoting internal commerce. Many of the roads and bridges on the national highway system were paved and constructed in the late 1970s and early 1980s and were designed with a 20-year lifespan. Much of this infrastructure needs extensive rehabilitation and replacement.
Iraq’s civil aviation sector is moving toward compliance with International Civil Aviation Standards as Iraqi Airways continues to rehabilitate its aging fleet. The Iraqi Civil Aviation Authority (ICAA) seeks to transform Iraq’s civil aviation system into a results-based, value-driven organization of aviation professionals dedicated to excellence on the ground and in the skies. The critical success factor for this excellence will be an environment that promotes compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPS).
Maritime ports serve Iraq as the primary gateway for the import and export of goods. The ports of Iraq are owned and operated by the Ministry of Transportation (MOT) and General Company for Ports (GCPI). GCPI owns and controls the Iraqi ports of Umm Qasr, Khor Al Zubair, Abu Fulus and Al-Maqal. The ports are spacious and adaptable to further expansion. Improvements in operational efficiency and infrastructure investment are needed to continue modernization efforts underway in all ports. The work force would also benefit from additional training on modern port operating practices and procedures. In December 2020, the GOI signed a $2.6 billion contract with South Korea’s Daewoo to complete the first phase of the Al-Faw port.
The state-owned Iraqi Republic Railroad (IRR) is one of the main modes of surface transportation for the import and export of goods and efficient hauling of bulk commodities within the country. The MOT and the IRR hope the railroad will serve as a primary surface transportation option, connecting customers in Europe, the Far East and the Gulf States while also serving as an economic growth catalyst. The IRR consists of 2,405 kilometers of track, 109 stations, 31 locomotives and 1,685 units of rolling stock. Recent investments ($40M USD) in a state-of-the-art computer-based train control and microwave communication system are the beginning of a broad modernization program for the rail system. Iraq continues intermittent negotiations concerning the establishment of rail links with Turkey, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia to complete a continuous Euro-Gulf rail route. Investment in supporting facilities such as inter-modal container terminals and corporatization of operations under a unified management contract continue to be areas of interest for Iraq’s rail system.