In the immediate aftermath of the Beirut explosion, the Lebanese authorities set out to work on restoring the operational capacity of the city’s damaged port. While there is still work to be done, the progress so far seems very promising.
Caretaker Economy Minister Raoul Nehme said this week that Lebanon is not facing difficulty in the flow of goods through its ports, despite the serious damage sustained by the Port of Beirut.
On Wednesday, Nehme said that Beirut Port had 12 operational cranes out of 16. He also mentioned that the Port was functioning at 30% of its normal operational capacity.
A day later, Bassem Al-Qaisi, the newly-appointed director-general of Beirut Port, told Al-Jazeera that the Port’s official operational capacity was nearly 75%, with 5 out of the 8 damaged cranes functioning again.
This means that as of Thursday, August 13th, 13 out of 16 cranes were fully operational (80% of the Port’s total cranes, as per Al-Qaisi).
The official indicated that the Port of Beirut is expected to return to 100% of its capacity in a short time, which would be a miracle considering the massive destruction of its permisses.
As for the other ports that Lebanon has been relying on to temporarily compensate for Beirut Port, namely those of Tripoli and Sidon, the current operational capacity is 70%, according to the latest report of the Economy Ministry.
While some countries have been helping rebuild Lebanon’s primary port, Kuwait has vowed to not only contribute to that but to also help rehabilitate and operate the secondary ports as an additional gesture of support.
Despite a UN official recently warning that Lebanon could run out of bread in less than 3 weeks, Minister Raoul Nehme has dismissed the claim that the country was going through a bread or flour crisis.
On that note, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has since declared that “at this stage, no food shortage is anticipated.”