Lebanon Businessnews News

Used cars stuck at port
New law bans import of ‘salvage’ vehicles
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The new traffic law states that imported used cars are now required to have a certificate of origin confirming that they are safe to be operated. In light of this provision, authorities at the main ports have barred a number of car shipments from entering the country.

Importers of used cars protested the measure calling on authorities to allow them to admit vehicles which were imported before the law’s enactment in October.
“The vehicles held at the port had been bought before the law was passed,” said MP Mohammad Kabbani. “I have raised the (importers’) demand to the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Finance,” he said.

Walid Francis, head of the association of used-car retailers, said a number of dealers are trying to admit cars with damaged chassis. He said some 60 dealers have established a syndicate of their own (the Syndicate of Used Cars) in order to lobby for their demand.

The new law also prohibits the import of salvaged vehicles. Vehicles that had gone through natural disasters or had severely damaged chassis were often imported at low prices - some 20 percent of the vehicle’s value.

According to Kabbani, out of some 1.4 million operational vehicles, around 800,000 were inspected at the 'Mecanique' motor-vehicles inspection center. “A large number of the cars in operation do not conform to the minimum safety standards and should be put out of use,” Kabbani said.

The law also calls for submitting used vehicles, including motorcycles, to mechanical inspection before they enter through the ports. “It would be impossible to do that because there isn’t enough space at the port for such inspections,” Francis said.

The number of used cars in operation is dropping each year. Used cars made up 65 percent of the total operational cars in the market three years ago. This number dropped to 55 percent in 2011.
Reported by Yassmine Alieh
Date Posted: Nov 23, 2012
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