Border lockdown threatens exports
Howayek calls on Cabinet to lease ferries
to transfer trucks to Egypt and Jordan
Hundreds of trucks, carrying some 7,000 tons of agro-products, including peaches, oranges, bananas, and eggs, were reportedly stuck at the border crossings in Jdeidet Yabous and Masnaa.
“More than 250 trucks bound for markets in Jordan and Iraq, with an estimated cargo worth $10 million, are held up,” said Ibrahim Tarshishi, president of the Farmers Association in the Bekaa.
Syria closed all its land crossings on Saturday after clashes broke out across its borders with Jordan. All overland exports have been suspended since then. Around 70 trucks, each carrying 30 tons, pass through Syria every day.
“Our agricultural exports are threatened now that Syria closed its land crossings,” said Antoine Howayek, president of the Farmers’ Association. He warned of the impact of the expected complete closure of overland border crossings on exports to the Gulf.
Howayek urged the Cabinet to ensure an alternative export route: “The Cabinet should, at its earliest session, issue a decision to either lease or buy two ferries to transfer trucks carrying fruits and vegetables to the ports of Egypt or Jordan at least twice a week.”
He said the government should cover the cost differential between overland transport and sea borne transport. Howayek also called on the government to forge agreements with both Egypt and Jordan to facilitate the passage of goods.
Date Posted: Jul 23, 2012