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Lebanon gets new access to export markets

TRIPOLI, Lebanon: October 10, 2017. CMA CGM has added Tripoli to its Beirut, Lebanon call on a weekly basis in a bid to link exporters in North Lebanon to markets in France, Spain, Algeria, Turkey and Egypt.

Using four vessels with a nominal capacity between 1200 and 1700 TEUs, the service will connect Marseille, Livorno, Civitavecchia, Malta, Mersin, Iskenderun, Tripoli, Beirut, Damietta, Alexandria, Malta and Algiers.

CMA CGM containerAccording to World Bank regional director Saroj Kumar Jha, with less than half the working age population employed, North Lebanon faces structural and socio-economic challenges: "Political, community, and social insecurity have impeded investment, curtailed growth and job creation, and fostered out-migration of talent. The influx of large numbers of Syrian refugees has further exacerbated employment challenges, particularly for the poorest," he explained.

In a report published last month, the World Bank said developing the Port of Tripoli as a leading container terminal for regional shipping and extending the transport infrastructure to improve connectivity between Tripoli, the rest of the country and the other economies in the region, would be critical in strengthening the competitive position of North Lebanon.

Lebanon's minister of Labor Mohammad Kabbara responded saying: "Tripoli enjoys several major assets: an international fair, a port, a refinery, an airport, and the forthcoming establishment of the Special Economic Zone, which is expected to be a major driver of the economy in the North and the rest of Lebanon."

The bank also noted the need to establish the Tripoli Special Economic Zone to support a competitive, regional manufacturing and logistics sector; to upgrade urban infrastructure and municipal capacity to promote improved "livability" for residents of Tripoli; and to position the city and the North region to support post-conflict reconstruction in Syria.

CMA CGM Lebanon general manager Joe Dakkak added: "Lebanon has always been a big priority for CMA CGM. We have always been pioneers in our service offerings and now we are getting closer than ever to our clients in the North. With this weekly call to the Port of Tripoli, we hope to actively contribute to the economic and commercial development of the region and of Lebanon in general."

In a related development the company has opened a 20,000 square meter logistics facility in the heart of the Bekaa Valley, 50 kilometers from Beirut and 124 kilometers from Tripoli. CMA CGM said the location is ideal for the export of fruit and vegetables to Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

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