Lebanon Businessnews News

Farmers demand easier access for Arab trucks
Shortage of refrigerated trucks
willing to travel through Syria
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Farmers in the Bekaa called on the government to allow empty refrigerated trucks from Arab countries to come into the country without prior permission.

The government regulates the entry of non-Lebanese refrigerated trucks.

Empty trucks are barred from entering the country. “The Ministry of Public Works and Transportation issued a decision allowing empty foreign trucks to enter the local market, but it stipulated that they should take prior permission from the Syndicate of Refrigerated Trucks,” said Ibrahim Tarshishi, president of the Bekaa Farmers Association.

Tarshishi said the Syndicate of Refrigerated Trucks is delaying the issuance of permits, and imposing its own price list on foreign trucks.

Exporters have been suffering a shortage of refrigerated trucks since the outbreak of the war in Syria. Local trucks have been reluctant to cross overland via Syria - the only overland route to the Gulf - thus more foreign trucks were hired to fill the gap.

Transportation costs have spiked since the beginning of the summer. The cost of transporting a refrigerated container from the Bekaa to Riyadh currently costs $5,200, up from $2,500 a year ago.
The ministry’s decision to allow empty foreign trucks into the country expires October 30. Farmers called on the ministry to extend this deadline till November 30.

“This is a high season for exporting agricultural products,” said Tarshishi. Vegetables and fruits are transported in large amounts to the Arab Gulf countries in autumn. Exports include potatoes, apples, grapes, tomatoes, and green peas.
Reported by Rania Ghanem
Date Posted: Oct 01, 2012
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