To overcome the land blockade after the closure of commercial land ports, Beirut resorted to the sea in order to open new outlets for its trade, particularly to the Arab Gulf states.
According to analysts, the closure of the Nasib border crossing between Syria and Jordan dealt a major blow to around 13 per cent of Lebanese exports to Gulf states, reports London-based Al-Araby Al-Jadeed.
With the continued closure of the crossing, exporting Lebanese products by sea becomes the only solution to keep this vital market for Lebanese exporters, despite the high cost and the time it takes to ship goods from Lebanon to Saudi and Egyptian ports.
Nasib is the only functioning crossing between Jordan and Syria and is vital for the transportation of goods from Lebanon and Syria to Jordan and the Gulf countries.
In the past two years, the crossing became the only land corridor open to Lebanese agricultural exports, after the closure of Dara’a crossing in 2013.
Lebanese exports to the Gulf countries by land in 2014 reached more than $430 million, according to the statistics on the official website of the Lebanese Customs.
This accounts for about 13 per cent of Lebanese exports.
The delay in the government’s decision to support covering the cost of exporting Lebanese products by sea, which exceeds the cost of land transport, multiplies the suffering of Lebanese farmers, who fear losing Gulf markets for the benefit of neighbouring Arab countries such as Egypt and Jordan.
Agriculture Minister Akram Chehayeb raised the issue of governmental support for Lebanese exports to Jordan and the Gulf, according to a statement released by Prime Minister Tammam Salam’s media office.
Chehayeb says that the export subsidy proposal is heading towards a resolution within a week after studying the cost of subsidizing exports to Jordan and Syria.