Al Khaleej Sugar Refinery is exporting about 600,000 to 800,000 tonnes a year to Iraq with shipments back to normal after disruption last summer due to the conflict with Islamic State, the Dubai refinery’s general manager Riad el Ferkh said.
“We have four vessels queuing in Umm al Qasr (in Iraq). It usually takes a month to offload,” Ferkh said during a tour of the refinery on Monday.
Al Khaleej’s supply to Iraq, its biggest customer, was affected last summer as conflict in the country escalated with IS overrunning Mosul and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki resigning.
Haider al-Abadi was confirmed as Iraq’s prime minister in September last year to succeed al-Maliki.
“When all that happened in Iraq we started selling to our other markets and locally but then when a new prime minister came things started moving again,” Ferkh said, adding that the refinery was affected for about a month.
During the tour, a truck loaded with bagged white sugar was seen on its way to load a vessel headed for Umm al Qasr.
The bags were all labelled for the trade ministry of Iraq.
Ferkh said the refinery bought about 55,000 tonnes of raw sugar from Thailand but the rest of its imports in the past year have been from Brazil. The refinery’s raw sugar silos, which can hold 1.54 million tonnes, are full.
“I only have space for 43 tonnes,” Ferkh said.
White sugar stores are around 30,000 tonnes out of a total capacity of 140,000 tonnes.
“I have to send to my customers and keep the white sugar silos empty so I can produce more,” he said.