The following is an archived copy of a message sent to the CASI Analysis List run by Cambridge Solidarity with Iraq.

Views expressed in this archived message are those of the author, not of Cambridge Solidarity with Iraq (CASI).

[Main archive index/search] [List information] [CASI Homepage]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

[casi-analysis] Re: Fate of Iraqi SOEs

[ This message has been sent to you via the CASI-analysis mailing list ]

Greetings to all.

It is not possible to treat all the SOEs in a similar way. Consider the

Iraqi State Company for Water Transport - part of the Ministry of Transport
- government monopoly ship agents.

Such monopolies are almost universally disliked by shipping companies,
including SOEs from other countries. In the normal commercial competitive
world, individual shipping companies want separate agencies to handle their
marketing and operations without conflict of interest or disclosure of
commercial information. ISCWT have offices which are now empty of all
furniture and equipment as a consequence of looting. Staff of any
qualification and experience are already appearing in other shipping and
agency organisations now freer to act as if the monopoly no longer exists.
It is unlikely that this organisation can or will be revived even though
legally its theoretical monopoly continues.

Iraqiline - pre-1990 dry cargo fleet operating about 15 owned and a number
of chartered ships

Use of the ships was stopped by sanctions. They sat idle in various ports
until most had rotted. A good number were eventually sold for scrap or
limited use after expensive refurbishment. I am not aware if any remain.
Some staff have continued to attend the office since 1990, but with no real
job to do. Many officers and crew found work outside Iraq. Unless finance
is found for new ships, training, and re-establishment of the operation,
there is little hope of the survival of this organisation and nothing to
sell except perhaps offices.

Iraqi Tanker Co -  pre-1990 oil tanker fleet - in a similar position as

Iraqi Port Authority - still up and running. There is a slightly awkward
relationship with the US company, SSA, who were contracted for port
management. There are short and long term problems in respect of tariffs
and new equipment investment which are capable of resolution in a number of
ways. I believe that the US$ 18 billion funding package includes provision
for some equipment such as new container gantry cranes.

There is no reason why this organisation should not continue for the
indefinite future given a sensible structure and financing until and unless
privatisation is seen as an attractive option or an end in itself. It is
very likely that a privatised port authority or a larger scale management
contractor will want to keep existing trained and qualified local staff.

Iraqi Land Transport Company - semi-monopoly of road haulage.

The situation is unclear, but it appears that individual drivers have
already "privatised" the trucks they were driving in March 2003.

Iraqi Grain Board - import, distribution, and storage of rice and wheat -

Still up and running, an essential part of the "Oil for Food" import and
distribution scheme.  Owns silos in Umm Qasr and numerous warehouses etc
elsewhere. Whilst it is quite possible to anticipate the market being
opened to private trader imports, it is hard to expect that traders will
come into the market until and unless there is a stable and organised local
market in which they can sell. This cannot exist whilst the "Oil for Food"
distribution continues. No doubt this will exercise many economist brains
for the months (or years) to come.

General Organisation for Motor Vehicles - monopoly vehicle importer

Already undermined by the huge influx of second hand cars in the last 6-8
months. Manufacturers are already tentatively establishing new agencies and
distributors. Its assets are unknown to me, but since Saddam habitually
imported and distributed cars, for example, as rewards or presents for army
officers and similar, and sanctions created many other restrictions, it is
unlikely that this organisation has the panopoly of show rooms and service
centres which would make it easily saleable.

National Insurance Company

Still up and running and open for business. Pre-1990, Iraqis were well
known in the Arab Gulf for good technical insurance experience and
qualification. Reserves are unknown. Funds in US$ held in London were
frozen in 1990.  Normal reinsurances were brought to a halt by sanctions.
Possibly a good candidate for sale to or takeover by an interested
international underwriter.

No doubt someone in the CPA is working on a far more detailed list?

Happy new year,

Mark Galloway

Sent via the CASI-analysis mailing list
To unsubscribe, visit
All postings are archived on CASI's website at

[Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]