Syrian sea green corridor…a means to increase exports amid sharp drop

Damascus, SANA – As the impacts of the current crisis facing the country have taken a severe toll on all economic sectors, with the agricultural trade being no exception, there emerged an overwhelming need to tackle the decline in agricultural exports, by land in particular.

The past two years witnessed a drop in agricultural exports, even sharper than in 2011, when they went down by 41%. The imports also dropped by 15 %.

In light of this situation, sea has surfaced as an encouraging means for the transporting of agricultural goods available in the Syrian coast, especially those finding difficulties getting marketed.

The idea came up to create a Syrian agricultural corridor to meet the demands for exportable agricultural products by eastern markets.

The proposal, made by the National Center for Agricultural Policies affiliated to the Ministry of Agriculture, aims at connecting the Syrian ports with their counterparts in the friendly countries in the east, thus facilitating the exporting of the Syrian agricultural commodities.

Chief of Trade Department at the Center Mahmoud Bebili explained that through what has come to be called the Syrian see green corridor, large vessels are used to transport wheeled trucks loaded with agricultural goods to the target port, a means, he said, that saves time and reduces risks of the shipped goods getting damaged.

Bebili cited a successful experience in this regard; that of the 2002 green corridor carried out between Egypt and the European Union, which he said resulted in a remarkable increase in Egyptian exports to Italy, and through the latter into Europe.

There is a particularly practical proposal to link Lattakia Port with that of Novorossiysk, Russia’s largest commercial sea port operator, a project, if endorsed, is to be put forth to certain sides for funding and implementation, he added.

He struck an optimistic note when he said that methodical and scientific means have been applied to ensure that the corridor project come out with positive results, particularly in terms of increasing the Syrian agricultural export volume.

The Transport Ministry statistics show that there is an array of agricultural goods being traded by sea through the ports of Lattakia and Tartous. Among the most imported agricultural goods are bananas, cereals, sugar, rice and food items.

However, Syria exports mainly olive oil, apples, pistachios, wheat, seeds, cereals, legumes, tobacco and cotton.

H. Said


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