US awards contract for Iraqi port
From correspondents in Washington
March 25, 2003
THE United States has awarded a $US4.8 million ($8m)contract to manage the Iraqi port of Umm Qasr, which is still only tenuously-held by invading US and British troops.
The US Agency for International Development said the contract - the second to be awarded after Washington sought contracts from a select group of US firms - was given to the Seattle, Washington-based Stevedoring Services of America (SSA).
"SSA will be responsible for the effective operation of the port, allowing food and other humanitarian and reconstruction materials and supplies to be delivered smoothly and efficiently," USAID said.
"(It) will provide an initial port assessment, develop improvement plans to overcome port-imposed constraints, and supply technical expertise to ensure an adequate flow of through shipment."
The company would be responsible for port pilots who guide ships to the piers, manage the access of trucking companies to the port and police the facility, USAID added.
The deal is the second of eight civilian contracts for the post-war reconstruction of Iraq tendered by USAID on January 31.
They are reportedly valued at more than $US900 million.
The process has been criticised by some because of its secrecy and the small number of firms involved. No foreign companies were invited to tender.
The SSA deal is the second to have been struck.
A $US7.1 million personnel contract was awarded to Washington-based International Resources Group on February 21.
Hmph. I guess I'm just cynical, right?
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