Customs activity was in the red over the first nine months of 2015 recording yearly downturns of 15.94% and 3.37% in terms of value and volume of transported goods. However, the steep decline in the value of goods could be explained by the ongoing deterioration of oil prices and the depreciation of the euro.
The breakdown of transported goods revealed that maritime shipment was the main route for Lebanon’s trade activity. Port of Beirut (PoB) is still transmitting the highest part of goods as it took a share of 67.58% and was followed by the Port of Tripoli (21.75%) and the Port of Saida (8.05%).
Five out of nine custom offices revealed higher volumes of transported goods by September, 2015 compared to the same period in 2014 despite the decline of overall goods from 11.83M tons by September 2014 to 11.43M tons.
However, PoB saw 8.97% yearly fall in goods’ volume to reach 7.72M tons worth $9.39B partly due to the labor strikes. Custom office of Masnaa, which used to be one of Lebanon’s busiest custom offices, saw the tonnage of trafficked goods slashing in half by September 2015 with a 58.39 y-o-y slump to 80,942 tons. This is most probably due to the ongoing conflict in Syria and due to Syrian rebels taking control of the Jordanian Nasib border crossing (between Syria and Jordan) in Q1, as Masnaa is the main route to Jordan and GCC countries.
In contrast, tonnage of transported goods improved in each of the ports of Tripoli and Saida by respective 6.21% and 47.91% to 2.49M tons and 920,495 tons. The relatively improving security situation in Tripoli might have boosted trading activity at the city’s’ port. As for Saida’s Port, it revealed the largest yearly upturn especially when, in the month of April alone, 279,862 tons were brought into Lebanon through Saida’s port, with electrical transformers constituting the bulk of those imports. Similarly, custom offices of Arida and Tyre saw annual rises of 62.32% and 35.80% in imports’ volume to 80,010 tons and 3,577 tons, respectively. The former’s ascent was largely due to Arida being a safe passage to the North of Syria.
Separately, the imported volume through Rafik Hariri International Airport (RHIA) and Abboudieh remained relatively stagnant at 45,000 tons and 86,000 tons, respectively, by September 2015.
Imports Tonnage Relating to Lebanon’s Main Custom Offices