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Lebanese union warns of food shortages as Beirut port staff strike

September 9, 2021 at 9:54 am

A view of devastated Beirut port, almost one year after the August 2020 massive explosion, in Beirut, Lebanon on 3 August 2021. [Hussam Shbaro – Anadolu Agency]

The Syndicate of Food Importers in Lebanon yesterday warned of a major food disaster and huge losses incurred by the private sector if work at the Beirut port continued to be suspended, Anadolu news agency reported.

The union said in a statement that the disruption to the automated customs clearance system (Najm) and the suspension of work in the Beirut Container Terminal Consortium (BCTC) led to the cessation of work in the Beirut port. The private sector has incurred heavy losses as a result.

The current situation will completely stifle the foreign trade cycle, it explained, especially with regard to foodstuffs.

“The continuous disruption in the work of the basic state administrations, including ministries and public institutions, which are related to companies and import and export operations, is a systematic destruction of the food sector as well as all private sector institutions,” it said.

The union demanded all officials exert all efforts to open export and import channels.

Since 1 August, employees of the BCTC have been on a general strike to demand improvements to their living conditions. This has disrupted imports and shipping traffic through the port.

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