I was surprised to read about “phenomenal growth” and “Beirut Port among the the world’s biggest 100 international portsâ€ in the DailyStar, especially when I’ve been hearing the complete opposite from business owners and economic reports.
Here are few excerpts from the DailyStar article:
Zakhour expressed high optimism about the growth prospects in the portâ€™s operations saying that its business is being propelled by massive growth in transshipment that exceeded 27 percent in the first 10 months of 2011 alone, contributing some 405,000 containers.
The turmoil in neighboring Syria would not negatively affect the port, he added, but in fact may well contribute to increasing its activities.
I don’t know who Elie Zakhour, head of the Beirut International Chamber of Navigation, is trying to fool by these numbers as they are inaccurate. It’s good to be optimistic but it’s better if he gives the whole image to the Lebanese.
Here’s an excerpt of Lebanon’s Economic Report for Q3 2011 prepared by Bank Audi, in regards to Beirut Port activity:
The number of containers at the Beirut Port, another important indicator of trade activity, decreased by a yearly 4.1% to attain 439,220 containers in the first nine months of this year. The mentioned number of containers encompasses all incoming and outgoing containers at the Port, but not transshipments. As a matter of fact, the latter totaled 329,162 containers, up by 22%. However, the number of ships that used the Port of Beirut during the first nine months of 2011 declined by 5.8% and amounted to 1,648. As for revenues generated by the Port, they reached US$ 119.2 million during the first nine months of 2011, depicting a yearly 5.2% decline relative to the same period of 2010.
Fransabank, another prominent Lebanese bank, published very similar stats to Bank Audi’s report. You can check it [Here].
As you can see, Beirut Port’s activity has slowed down and revenues are down, despite a surge in transshipments mainly due to the situation in Syria. All in all, Beirut Port is not doing that bad in spite of the recent events in the Arab world and the economic recession in Europe, but its growth has slowed down when compared to last year.