Former Iraq Detention Center To Become Trade Center
Who would have thought that the former US Military detention center in the city of Basra could raise a potential of becoming Iraq’s largest trading hub? Yes, a trade center that could link Asia and Europe. For years of being neglected and ignored, who would have thought that Camp Bucca could be set to become a link for commerce that could fuel employment and economic growth?
Basra is the second largest city of the country. During Saddam Hussein regime, this city was greatly oppressed and within the area was Camp Bucca which was once made to be US Military detention facility in the year 2003. This area was chosen because of its wide acres of land preferable enough to detain prisoners.
However, an Iraqi-owned development company (Kufan group) saw a great potential of its 740 acres of land that once held thousands of prisoners – they will turn Basra a massive logistics hub and it will be called as Basra Logistics City. For years from its freedom from Sadam’s reign, Iraq (consistently) is becoming ambitious, isn’t it? Well, they do have the land to become as such.
When Rami Faraj, one who is working on the said development, was asked by CNN reporter, Fred Pleitgen during an interview, Rami said, “It will be a connection hub to connect Europe to the Far East. The stuff or the goods come from Europe through Iraq and Umm Qasr and to the Gulf and the Far East and vice versa. It comes back from China and Japan. It will save time and money for the trading companies.”
In short, the group wants to link Asia and Europe to bring back life to Iraq’s second largest city. And they are aware of the challenges that need to be faced. The projected Basra Logistics City will include outstanding container terminal, food processing facilities, hotels, shops and warehouses. Without a doubt, the city is capable of accommodating all the ambitious goals of the Kufan group given the fact that Camp Bucca could detain 20,000 prisoners any moment from now.
Not to mention that American soldiers have left state-of-the-art infrastructure that will make it easier for the group to start its commercial operations. So, what about the security? Well, the geographical perimeter is a natural safe place for workers making it close to impossible to breach.
Near the Camp area is a water-treatment plant which is currently the source of fresh water for 45,000 people in Umm Qasr. Given the figures, Kufan group has invested $240 Million just on its first phase of construction – this makes South Iraq as the stage area to attract other logistic firms and big companies.
Kufan group still has to fix most of the port’s facilities (mostly from 1970s and 80s) which have not been properly repaired for more than 10 years. If they want to relive the glory days of what was once called the great Babylon, they have to fix the antiqued facilities that previous wars left. Iraq is currently doing its full modernization efforts for Umm Qasr. The Iraqi government and Kufan group expect, or so they seem to be, that Basra Logistics City will fuel economic growth in the area for the next years to come.
As the Deputy Prime Minister for Oil Affairs of Iraq, Hussein al Sharistani said, “The standard of living of Iraqis is much lower than what it should be, compared to the Gulf countries, Gulf oil countries; there is no reason why Iraq should (not) be living at that standard. And I think in the coming five to 10 years you will see a completely different Iraq.”