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Land shipping across Syria increasing: industry head
File - A loaded truck drives through the Lebanese customs into the Syrian territory at the Masnaa border crossing, Saturday, June 15, 2013. (The Daily Star/Hasan Shaaban)
File - A loaded truck drives through the Lebanese customs into the Syrian territory at the Masnaa border crossing, Saturday, June 15, 2013. (The Daily Star/Hasan Shaaban)
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BEIRUT: The number of trucks transporting cargo through Syria has risen significantly, and now represents 30 percent of total shipping out of Lebanon, an industrialist said Thursday.

“The ratio of land cargo transport through Syria has improved in recent months,” Khaled Farshoukh, the head of the board of directors for the Development of Industrial Exports, said in a statement.

“Now land shipping represents 30 percent of total shipping. We have between 40 to 50 trucks crossing into Syria every day.”

The figure is an improvement from the 15-20 trucks that were going through the war-torn country earlier this year, but still pales in comparison to the pre-Syrian crisis levels, when land trade via Lebanon’s neighbor represented 60 percent of total shipping.

Lebanon has been forced to find alternative routes to ship its agricultural and industrial goods to Arab countries since the outbreak of the war.

But Farshoukh admitted that the cost of shipping through Syria has risen considerably due to the high security risks: “The cost of land shipping has jumped by 30-40 percent. The cost ... to Saudi Arabia for example has increased from $1,800 per truck to $2,400.”

He said insurance policies on every truck traveling across Syria had jumped by 100 percent, adding that cargoes crossing Syria still were not covered in the event of war-related incidents or theft.

Farshoukh insisted the trucks crossing to Syria had not suffered any security incidents and that all of the trucks had passed safely.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on December 20, 2013, on page 5.
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