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SSA Marine Completes Port of Umm Qasr Management Contract.

SEATTLE -- SSA Marine's contract with USAID to manage the port of Umm Qasr, Iraq was completed on June 30, 2004. SSA Marine was awarded the contract after an international competitive bidding process and has managed the Iraqi port since the transfer of control from the British Military on May 23, 2003.

SSA Marine was the first contractor to work in Iraq, initiating activities while the war was still on-going. This allowed the port to open first to handle humanitarian cargo and then progress to the movement of reconstruction and commercial cargoes. During the entire length of the contract, there have been no disruptions in moving these vital cargoes through the port. SSA Marine also oversaw the regularly scheduled ferry services between Iraq and Dubai.

Since last year, a group of 12 SSA Marine operations' experts have overseen the daily operations and security at the facility. "We are very proud of this group of SSA Marine volunteers, most of whom have served in Iraq continuously for 14 months, the longest time served of any contractor in Iraq," expressed Jon Hemingway, president and C.E.O. of SSA Marine. Over 280 vessels, 1.2 million metric tons of cargo and more than 8000 people have called the port. The main cargoes handled included containers, break-bulk, RoRo, construction, bulk grain, bagged rice and sugar. Cargo throughput increased 400% since June, 2003. The port has 33 warehouses, 2 container cranes, rail links and good road access. All of this activity resulted in the collection of more than $18 million in revenue for the benefit of the Iraqi Port Authority.

Bob Watters, vice president, SSA Marine, who was responsible for project oversight said, "the past year has been rewarding in helping the people of Iraq. We achieved all the goals we set out. In less than 24 hours of taking over management of the port from the military, we started handling the much needed humanitarian cargo to bring relief to the Iraqi people. The first ship worked, the m.v. 'Rise,' was carrying 14,000 MT of bagged rice. Our management of the port, during this early period, generated confidence among the maritime community which facilitated movement of commercial cargo through the port much earlier than anticipated. USAID has been highly complimentary of our performance of this operation and recognized the tremendous effort that created an effective, teamwork approach to working with USAID, CPA and the local Iraq Port Authority (IPA). During the final month of the contract, SSA Marine conducted a transition program where the Iraqi people were empowered to assume responsibility to run the operations under the mentoring assistance of our managers when needed. We all needed to feel confident they could manage the port on their own and would continue the processes we had put in place."

Mr. Watters continued, "the success of this operation is a credit to our excellent team at Umm Qasr, the Iraqi workforce employed by the IPA, USAID and CPA."

The Principal Maritime Advisor to the CPA, Tom Wakeman, said, "winning the peace in Iraq is more than giving direction and money to its people. SSA Marine worked closely with its Iraqi Port Authority counterparts, not only to restore port operations, but also to win their hearts and minds. Their Iraqi colleagues openly called SSA Marine staff 'brothers,' and there wasn't a dry eye as they departed. We will all miss their daily contributions to the progress and the peace at the port of Umm Qasr."

John (Jethro) Schaper, Mr. Wakeman's hands-on Deputy, elaborated further, that "the SSA-Iraq team's dedication in rebuilding the port of Umm Qasr from complete disrepair, to a vibrant commercial operation that generates over $1 million per month, is nothing short of phenomenal. Their efforts, in the training and mentoring of the employees of the port of Umm Qasr, are a testament to the compassion and patriotism that is inherent in each member of the SSA-Iraq team."

About SSA Marine

SSA Marine ( is the largest privately held container terminal operator and cargo handling company in the world, handling approximately 18 million container TEU's per year at its marine and rail terminals. The company has 150 operations worldwide, including Panama, Mexico, Chile, South Africa and New Zealand and more than 10,000 employees.
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Jun 30, 2004
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