Iraq is expected to complete designs for a project to link its Southern Port of Basra with Turkey in a rail network in July, its Transport Minister has said. 

Nasser Al-Shibli said he discussed the project with Turkish officials and representatives of the the General Company for Iraqi Railways in Baghdad on Wednesday. 

“There was an agreement to finalise studies and designs for this important project in July at the latest,” the Minister told Aliqtisad News and other Iraqi publications. 

Iraqi officials said in late 2021 that the project could be offered as an investment or joint venture with the private sector given its high costs, adding that several foreign firms had shown interest in the project, including PEG of Italy and Turkey’s Yapi Merkezi. 

Iraq presented mega rail projects worth nearly $30 billion at an international donor conference held in Kuwait in Feb 2018.  

The largest project involves the construction of a 910-km rail network linking the capital Baghdad to Basra at a cost of around $13.7 billion.  

Another project includes building a 700-km rail line connecting the capital Baghdad with the Northern Kirkuk and Mosul cities at a cost of $8.6 billion. 

(Writing by Nadim Kawach; Editing by Anoop Menon)