DP World launches direct freight service between UEA and Iraq

DP World has launched the first direct freight service between the UAE and Iraq to make the flow of goods between the two countries faster, safer and more efficient. 

Purpose-built RORO vessels used to transport “unaccompanied” trailers from Jebel Ali to Umm Qasr Port in Iraq.

The service caters to what the industry calls ‘unaccompanied trailers’, which can be transported by sea without the driver and truck cab travelling alongside them. Instead, the driver leaves the trailer at the port’s quayside and is pulled on and off the ship alone.

This is the first service in the UAE and runs under the name of P&O Maritime Transports, a DP World company.

The service takes approximately 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, alleviating challenges customers face using cross-border land transport, which can take up to 14 days. 

Unaccompanied trailers are loaded onto roll-on, roll-off (RORO) freight vessels, leaving the driver and cab behind at the port. Once the trailer reaches Umm Qasr Port, an Iraqi truck can drive it to its final destination anywhere in the country. Once delivered, the empty trailer is returned to Umm Qasr and shipped to Jebel Ali. 

Avoiding risk and damage

Until now, 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 to damage, contamination and security. 

DP World’s unaccompanied trailer service allows cargo owners and logistics companies to load a UAE-plated trailer in their local warehouse, ship it securely to Iraq and get the exact trailer back without the cargo having to change hands along the route. 

This is especially useful for transporting palletised or project cargo – large, heavy-duty, or complex pieces of equipment, due to the greater payload capacity of road-going trailers. Purpose-built RORO freight vessels allow customers greater flexibility in the planning and moving of over-dimensional packages on low-bed and heavy-axle trailers. This generates significant cost savings versus traditional break bulk operations, as the cargo loaded on board a trailer can be delivered directly on-site in Iraq.

Jesper Kristensen, group COO, of DP World Marine Services, said: “The launch of this new route is a step change in our service offering in the UAE. It is a great example of our customer-focused approach at DP World, using innovative and tailored solutions to enable the flow of goods. Iraq’s economy is growing rapidly, but until now, it relied on transit through its neighbours for its import and export needs. Our new direct service starts to address this, opening a new, more efficient trade route for the country.”

Significant sustainability benefits

“On top of the time and efficiency benefits, our service will also offer significant sustainability benefits. By shipping the trailer alone to Iraq, we expect to remove thousands of trucks from the roads yearly, helping our clients reduce their CO2 emissions,” he added.

The first customer to use the route was the ADSO Group, a UAE-based logistics firm. Speaking about the maiden journey, Riaz Karmali, GM at ADSO, said:

“As one of the first P&O Maritime Transports customers to use the service, we are extremely pleased with such a transport solution for our freight industry. The new service is ground-breaking and delivers great logistical efficiencies across our operations.

“We benefit from cost savings by reducing our time spent on the road and crossing borders. Plus, the service provides a more sustainable solution to us and by extension, to our customers. The reliability and expertise of DP World mean we have full trust that our shipments are handled with the utmost care.”

Karmali added: “We are optimistic our clients will greatly benefit from this service, and it will be a win-win solution for shippers, forwarders and receivers alike.”