Freight activity continues in Iraq despite hostilities

Freight forwarders are still managing to serve parts of Iraq despite the on-going hostilities affecting large swathes of the country.

Islamist-led militants were on Monday reported to have seized a further two Iraqi towns, situated in the Diyala province in the east, near Iran and close to Baghdad, having already seized Mosul and Tikrit in the north.

But Erbil, in the Iraqi province of Kurdistan and the main air cargo gateway in the country, continues to operate normally.

According to their flight schedules, UAE carriers Emirates and Etihad Airways are maintaining their freighter flights into Erbil. Emirates is understood to have operated a B777F into Erbil from Dubai on Sunday.

Operators say the main problem for freight remains on-forwarding from Erbil to central and southern Iraq, notably Baghdad and Basra.

Forwarder Panalpina’s country manager for Iraq, Thomas David, said “the situation is still as of yesterday”, meaning business as usual in Erbil and in Kurdistan, but with the roads from Kurdistan to Baghdad and southern Iraq unsafe, with truck transport services on hold.

One UK forwarder, specialising in shipping to Iraq, who preferred not to be identified, said it had dispatched a truck from Erbil earlier this week which had arrived in Basra in southern Iraq yesterday.

“We’re not suggesting it’s plain sailing at the moment in Iraq, but the truck did get through,” he said.

The firm has a couple of trucks scheduled to operate between Erbil and Basra this week.

Meanwhile, DHL said its Global Forwarding and Express business units continued to operate in Iraq but warned of service disruptions and delays in the north of the country around Erbil, Tikrit and Mosul, where many roads remain closed.

“We continue to monitor the situation and have not suspended our service,” the company said.

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