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“Food disaster” averted after port workers resume work, food importers syndicate head tells L’Orient Today

“Food disaster” averted after port workers resume work, food importers syndicate head tells L’Orient Today

A “food disaster” has been averted for the time being, the head of Lebanon’s food importers’ syndicate told L’Orient Today on Tuesday. (Credit: Céline Abboud)

BEIRUT — A “food disaster” has been averted for the time being, the head of Lebanon’s food importers syndicate told L’Orient Today on Tuesday, adding that prices “will definitely” come down after the lira’s market value increased.

Here’s what we know:

    • Hani Bohsali, the syndicate’s head, said the resumption of work by striking employees at the Beirut Container Terminal Consortium had put off a food distribution disaster.

    • In a statement released last week, Bohsali had warned that strikes at Lebanon’s main port, in the capital, could lead to “a major food disaster.” The slowed process of transporting foodstuffs from the port to the market, and taxing importers — in fresh dollars — on the delayed products kept on the port grounds stifles the trade cycle, he said.

    • BCTC equipment operators had gone on strike last week, demanding better pay amid the country’s deepening economic crisis. The workers are paid in lira, which has lost over 90 percent of its exchange value since the crisis began two years ago.

    • A spokesperson for the company confirmed yesterday that employees had returned to work, after the management had heard them out.

    • Truckers at the port had also threatened a strike, but they suspended it until Thursday, the deadline they have set for truck owners to honor their promise to the drivers and add $125 in cash to the drivers’ salaries.

    • Bohsali also said that food prices “will definitely fall” given the improvement of the lira’s parallel exchange rate against the US dollar since the government’s formation on Friday. The lira was trading at around LL16,000 to the dollar on Tuesday, down from about LL19,000 in the days before the formation.

    • However, he said he fears the lira would lose its value again, noting “the lira–dollar exchange rate going down then hiking up again within days.”

    • Bohsali also said that slow processing at the port remains a problem for importers.

    • After the Beirut port explosion only five of the container terminal’s 16 cranes were still operational, and a bulk of privately operating trucks used to transport goods from the port into Lebanon and elsewhere were damaged.


BEIRUT — A “food disaster” has been averted for the time being, the head of Lebanon’s food importers syndicate told L’Orient Today on Tuesday, adding that prices “will definitely” come down after the lira’s market value increased.Here’s what we know:    • Hani Bohsali, the syndicate’s head, said the resumption of work by striking employees at the Beirut Container...