Exports to Arab states drop on low land trade
Cargo transport through Syria costly, exporters consider other routes: Exports' Development Council
The president of the Council for Industrial Exports’ Development, Khaled Farshoukh, said that Lebanon’s exports to Arab countries, through Syria, have dropped significantly during the last year. He said that exports to the Gulf countries, which constitute 40 percent of the value of all exports, have dropped due to the ongoing turmoil in Syria.
The costs of transporting exports through Syria have increased since the outbreak of the confrontations. According to Farshoukh, prices of cargo insurance almost doubled, and transportation expenses rose by around 50 percent. “The transportation costs of a cargo truck from Lebanon to Saudi Arabia increased from $1,800 to around $2, 700,” he said.
Farshoukh said that the number of truck drivers serving the Lebanon-GCC route has also dropped. On average, 150 trucks now go from Lebanon to Arab countries each day, compared to 300 trucks before the crisis.
According to Farshoukh, one accessible solution for upholding trade with Arab countries is shipping exports by sea.
Gezairi Transport, the Beirut-based shipping firm, has proposed transporting cargo using its ferries as an alternative to the land route. The company said that it can operate two ferry trips per day, each carrying from 50 to 60 trucks. The ferries will go from Beirut to the ports of Egypt and Jordan. The cost of each ferry trip is $70,000, thus transportation charges for each truck will be around $1,200. This is in addition to the cost of transporting the trucks from the port to the destination (in the GCC or the KSA). As such, transporting a cargo truck from Beirut to Saudi Arabia through this route will cost around $2,000.
by Hanadi Chami
Date Posted: Mar 15, 2012