The Beirut Port explosion has caused devastation on an enormous scale. Countless residents and shops have been reduced to rubble, and, needless to say, the Port itself has been paralyzed.
Lebanon needs time to rebuild its maritime artery.
That’s what Minister of Public Works and Transport Michael Najjar stressed in the aftermath of the bloody explosion that has claimed the lives of over 113 people, and injured around 4,000, as of the time of writing.
Without Beirut Port, Lebanon, which depends on imports to secure most of its basic needs, will not be able to keep the influx of food items and other commodities in the usual capacity.
This serious problem prompted the Lebanese government to immediately search for an alternative solution until the Port of Beirut is brought back into its normal state, which will likely take significant time.
“We will rely on the port of Tripoli – we are assessing its capacity – and other ports in Sidon and Tyre,” Minister Najjar declared on Wednesday.
In turn, Tripoli Port’s Director General Ahmad Tamer stated that the Port is “ready for anything” and can handle the trade of 5 million tons of wheat and 300,000 containers.
Not only is the Port of Beirut the most vital of Lebanon’s ports and an essential building block of its economy, but it’s also one of the most strategic and important ports on the Eastern Mediterranean.
Its near-total destruction is expected to cost Lebanon billions of dollars and impact its import and export activities, officials have said.
The loss is partly due to the costs that will go into rebuilding the Port, and partly because of the dire effects on trade.
Lebanese Customs will also be affected, and the treasury will lose the important revenues generated by customs fees, an economic expert told Anadolu Agency.
Lebanon’s response to the disaster has been overwhelmed since it struck on Tuesday evening. The country’s Higher Defense Council has imposed a state of emergency in Beirut, lasting two weeks, and ordered an investigation to take place at the massive blast site.
Meanwhile, 3-day national mourning has been declared for the victims of the catastrophic incident.