Tripoli, 4 July 2016:
Tobruk, the only fully-functioning eastern port is buckling under the sheer weight of cargo arriving on its docks its director has warned today.
Ghaith Thami has said that the port is running out of warehouse space as a wide range of cargos piles up awaiting truckers to take them away. The port’s difficulties are being made worse by unpaid salaries for dock workers. In order to get the goods they have ordered, Thami said that some businessmen were actually paying the dockers themselves.
With the exception of the non-unionised Khoms, no Libyan port has a particularly outstanding record in normal times. Tripoli has been notorious for the refusal of dock workers and truckers to handle more than one or two containers per shift.
Thami gave no figures for recent cargo ship movements into the port. He said however that he had asked the town’s municipal council to provide extra storage space. The municipality was in turn pressing the Libyan Central Bank the provide the funds the pay salaries. He did not say if this was the Tripoli or Beida central bank.
It is also unclear what impact the port congestion is having on the local Customs department. But Thami warned that many of the goods stuck in warehouses had been ordered for Eid and entrepreneurs were desperate to have them delivered.
Benghazi and Derna ports remain too dangerous for ships to unload and truckers to carry offloaded cargo away.