Regional turmoil helps maritime growth

BEIRUT: The volatile situation in the region will ironically help Lebanon’s maritime transport sector to grow even further, the public works and transportation minister said Thursday at the fourth annual conference of the Shipping Brokers Association.

“The regrettable situation in the region continues to present an opportunity that Lebanon can benefit from,” Ghazi Aridi said in opening remarks.

“We are keeping all communications channels open on all levels and are taking precautionary measures to protect [the maritime transportation sector],” he added.

Aridi said the expansion of the Beirut and Tripoli ports have come at the right time to accommodate extra traffic.

Analysts have said that Lebanon’s relative stability combined with proximity to major Middle Eastern markets have made its ports more attractive to shipping companies.

Also shippers that used Syrian ports in Tartus and Latkia for transit trade to other countries in the region have sought different routes as they have been swayed by international sanctions and deteriorating security.

“Before the regional developments, we took the decision [to expand ports] and some people argued we were embarking on a reckless and challenging initiative. But today we realize the importance of those decisions,” the minister said.

Aridi added that the two ports would not compete with each other and would instead complement one another and allow for accommodating a high capacity of trade.

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Article courtesy of The Daily Star, Lebanon.

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