Lebanon Businessnews News

Exporters call for ferry link to the Gulf and Egypt
Industrial export losses exceed $1.5 million
due to troubled overland transport route
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Losses in industrial exports have exceeded $1.5 million since the start of the year due to the turmoil in Syria, said Khaled Farshoukh, president of the Council for Industrial Exports Development. “Closing overland borders with Syria will have devastating effects on our exports,” Farshoukh said. He called on the government to take quick measures and find alternative routes for exports.

Farshoukh said that the ferry service operating between Tripoli and Turkey’s port of Mersin, and Iraq, which has been operational for three months now, is not enough. “This line only helps for goods exported to Turkey and Iraq,” he said.

Antoine Howayek, president of the Farmers' Association agreed that one ferry line was not enough: “Our exports to Iraq, Turkey, and Europe are too small. Most of our exports in the summer are destined to the Gulf countries and Egypt.” Howayek said at least two permanent shipping lines should be established between the Port of Beirut and ports in Jeddah and Alexandria to compensate for the shortfall in overland transportation.

Farshoukh said that the volume of overland exports went down by around 40 percent. The scarcity of trucks and the heightened risks of driving through Syria also served to raise transportation costs by around 50 percent. “The number of trucks crossing the border fell from 300 to only 50 trucks per day, and on some days no trucks pass at all,” said Farshoukh. He also said that while some insurance companies have refrained from insuring overland cargo, other firms have raised the prices of their premiums.

Reported by Rania Ghanem
Date Posted: Aug 01, 2012
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