Additionally, as Al Jazeera reports, cargo carrying goods have been prevented from entering or leaving the port, and according to port officials, some international shipping lines have stopped operations due to the port’s closure.
In fact, Abdul Khalaf, a spokesman for Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi has previously stated that Iraq’s economic losses due to the port closure have exceeded the amount of $6 billion.
Moreover, clashes between protesters and armed security forces have claimed the lives of more than 270 people. Further to this, on Thursday, November 7, police and medical sources reported that Iraq's security forces have shot dead at least four protesters in Baghdad. Moreover, according to Al Jazeera, 35 people were wounded in clashes near Shuhada Bridge, as weeks of unrest show no signs of decline.
Notably, the protests are part of a wave of unrest across southern Iraq that started earlier in October, calling for basic public utilities like running water and electricity, better economic opportunities, basic public utilities and an end to corruption, further demanding a reduction of Iranian influence.
Iraq is ranked as one the world's most corrupt countries in transparency perception surveys, and despite billions in oil revenue available for improvements, its public infrastructure has not yet recovered from the effects of the Iraq War.
It is noted that earlier in October, the International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI) formally launched two new berths which for the first time offer the port of Umm Qasr, with the ability to handle container vessels of up to 14,000TEU.
In late September, dockworkers from three stevedoring corporations at the Port of Newcastle in Australia, protested through an hour stop work meeting against the arrival of a new bulk uploading crane which according to the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA), could potentially threaten job security.
In October, a spokesperson of the Port responded to the Maritime Union of Australia, reporting that the port invests $35 million into state of the art ship unloader that is equipped with the latest safety and environmental features and will play a key role in delivering efficiencies to customers.