File - Ships are seen docked at the port in Tripoli. (The Daily Star/Mahmoud Kheir)
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The ferry arrives at Tripoli's port just as the last glimpse of sun disappears in the horizon.The old port typically receives consignments from Russia, Romania, Ukraine, Spain and even China.A senior manager at the port, who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media, said total exports from the port once peaked at 350,000 tons per year. While it can take 20-30 days to ship goods from Egypt's Suez Canal to Iraq's Umm Qasr port, taking the land route from Tripoli to Iraq via Syria's Al-Bukamal crossing takes just seven days.ISIS captured the key border town of Al-Bukamal in July and has nearly full control over a corridor from the Syrian city of Deir al-Zor to the crossing, allowing the group to move easily between Syria and Iraq. According to the port authority, about 4,487 trucks left the port in 2013 . By November 2014, the figure dropped to 2,094 . Still, although the frequency has diminished, Lebanese and Syrian truck drivers, swayed by the promise of up to three times their regular pay, make the trip from the port across war zones to deliver goods.
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