Hong Kong-based global port operator Hutchison Ports is making inroads into the Middle East market  with a deal to manage the Port of Basra in Iraq.

The deal will see Hutchison team up with NAWAH Port Management (NPM), the port management arm of the Pritzker Family Business Interests vehicle NAWAH (North America Western Asia Holdings).

Hutchison has agreed to manage existing and future operations at Port of Basra in southern Iraq. NPM, was launched in partnership with Basra’s Moosawi family in 2012 to establish a modern container berth at the port.

Hutchison will assume oversight of day-to-day commercial and operational activities at NPM, operating under the name of Hutchison Ports Basra.

NPM’s terminal is along the Shatt Al Arab waterway in Iraq. It services the shipping needs for a full spectrum of customers across Iraq – from large, multinational companies to local Iraqi merchants.

“We view NPM’s operations at the Port of Basra as an integral piece of our expanding Middle East strategy and are excited about the opportunities this partnership creates,” said Andy Tsoi, Hutchison Ports’ Middle East and Africa md.  “We believe strongly in the growth story of Basra, Iraq, and the Middle East as a whole and are delighted to have the opportunity to participate in and support the growth of the business over the long term.”

NPM ceo Eric Clark said: “Hutchison Ports has an exceptional team and a proven track record of delivering value to its customers, employees and the regions in which it invests.  We are delighted for the opportunity to partner with one of the leaders in the industry – a company which shares our vision of NPM as both a unique maritime asset in southern Iraq as well as strategic platform in the epicenter of one of the fastest growing regions in the world.”

Advisors on the deal were Eversheds for Hutchison Ports and Latham & Watkins for the PFBI. No deal value was disclosed.