Yemen will soon begin work on a $130m Arabian Sea port complex to boost exports.

The war-torn Middle East country’s deputy transport minister, Nasser al-Sharif, told Bloomberg that construction will begin in the next two months in the Qishn region, east of Al-Mahra province, near the border with Oman.

He said the government has approved a deal with domestic group Ajham Energy & Mining Co to build the port.

The facility will have a 50-year concession, with the contract issued under the build-operate-transfer system.

Reports had earlier emerged of a $100m plan to build a terminal dedicated to mining exports such as limestone and other minerals.

The plan includes a 1,000-metre breakwater and a 300-metre mooring area to handle ships with a draught of up to 14 metres initially.

Containers and other goods will be also be shipped in and out.

An operational date was not revealed.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) says Yemen’s ports are responsible for 60% to 70% of all its imports.

But with reduced capacity due to the civil war and a lack of maintenance, what was once an economic engine is shattering.

Shipping companies are forced to pay high war insurance premiums and the ports can handle only a few ships at a time.

This significantly slows the offloading process and potentially compromises the quality of supplies, the UN believes.

UNDP has partnered Yemen’s port authorities, the Dutch government through the Netherlands Enterprise Agency, and the Port of Rotterdam to assess and improve the capacity of each existing terminal.