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A hidden war between Tripoli and Tartus ports

2-11-2017

Lately, there has been a lot of talk on participation of reconstruction in post-war Syria, the anticipated role of the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) and an urgency to expand the Port of Tripoli. In this respect, Al Akhbar drew attention to a secret war between Tripoli and Tartus ports. The latter is preparing for a new investment phase unparalleled in size and shape and is upgrading its logistics to become a regional base for the reconstruction process. Al Akhbar mentioned that the Syrian Chamber of Maritime Shipping has repeatedly warned that Syrian ports are under fierce competition from ports in neighboring countries who have devised strategies to increase their revenues and make huge profits betting all their chips on the reconstruction period. The above Maritime Chamber clarified that the Port of Tripoli administrators rely on an estimated study setting the trade traffic between 40-50 million tons of goods shipped via sea annually, which exceeds the current capacity of the Syrian ports and Beirut Port, leaving out 20-30 million tons to be accommodated at supplementary harbors. To this effect, the Maritime Chamber asked the Syrian government to act quickly, logistically or legislatively, and proposed the following: first, restriction of the import activity to Syrian ports in order to “increase production and support the national facilities, and, second, the issuance of a comprehensive customs bill that is flexible and compatible with international maritime laws and regulations.” On the other hand, former minister Abdel Rahim Mrad, revealed that some prominent Lebanese figures are in Germany setting up companies to clandestinely get going in future investments in the war-torn country, pointing to nearly USD 200 billion as a start for reconstruction. This means, Mrad said, that everyone is readying themselves for business (the Lebanese more than the Syrians). (Al Akhbar, Al Mustaqbal, October 25, 2017)

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