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Egypt in talks to reduce Lebanese shipping costs

Staff writer |
Industry Minister Hussein Hajj Hasan said that talks with Egyptian officials on reducing the charges of Lebanese goods shipped by sea have reached an advanced stage.

Talks focused on ways to subsidize the cost of shipment and the price for shipping Lebanese-made goods through the Suez Canal. Officials also reviewed ways to load the Lebanese-made goods in ferries that are dedicated for this purpose.

Lebanese exporters received a blow when Syrian insurgents occupied the last remaining crossing points between Syria and Jordan. Prior to this, over 70 percent of Lebanese-made exports passed through these crossings.

Industrialists and farmers complain that the cost of shipping their cargo by air and sea is much higher than land transportation.

Farmers note that vegetables and fruits need to be shipped in air-conditioned containers and should be delivered in a very short period of time. They also point out that perishable items do not last long in regular containers aboard ships.

But officials assured them that all cargo would be loaded in ferries that are equipped with large refrigerators and cooled containers.

Officials added that the talks with Egyptian counterparts on reducing the banking guarantees for the shipment of cargo through Suez Canal have made a major breakthrough.

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