BEIRUT, Feb. 18 (Xinhua) -- Tripoli Port's Director General Ahmad Tamer said that the port will turn by 2022 into a strategic logistic location not only in Lebanon but also in the region.
"We received an approval for a loan from the Islamic Bank for 86 million U.S. dollars which will enable us to equip the port with the latest technology and infrastructure to restore its important role in the region," Tamer told Xinhua in an exclusive interview.
The loan, Tamer added, will be used to rehabilitate the infrastructure inside the port, including the roads network, bridges, car parkings, buildings, electronic equipment, laboratories and cargo.
Tamer said that contracting companies will start their work in June 2019 by constructing bridges that link Tripoli's port to highways in Tripoli while in October 2019 the port will start to be equipped with the latest electronic devices and technologies.
"Within three years the port will restore its strategic role in the region," he said.
Tamer emphasized the importance of the port which is only 30 kilometers away from Syria which will enable it to play a great role in Syria's reconstruction.
He explained that Syria's reconstruction requires 40 million tons of products per year while Syrian ports have the capacity to receive only 15 million tons and the rest will be absorbed by ports in the region such as Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon.
According to Tamer, Port of Tripoli can receive up to 7 million tons of products per year if it works at full capacity while it is receiving 2 million tons for the time being.
"We are only working one shift for now but if we work for 24 hours we can receive up to 7 million tons of products a year," he said.
He added that the port receives around 75 vessels per month with around 10,000 containers unloaded in the port.
"Around 4,000 of these containers are unloaded for the local market while the rest go to other countries from Tripoli's port," he said.
China Harbor Engineering Company has been working to rehabilitate the Port of Tripoli since 2012, for it to be ready to receive all big vessels.
The Port of Tripoli has expanded its terminal to receive the largest types of vessels in addition to creating a terminal to receive Chinese cranes capable of lifting and transporting more than 700 containers a day.
Tamer said Tripoli's Port has so far received the biggest vessels through two shipping companies CMA CGM and Cosco.
"The biggest vessel that has arrived to Tripoli Port so far has 300 meters in length and 15.5 meters in depth," said Tamer.
He explained that Lebanon receives those big vessels mainly from China, European countries and Mediterranean countries.
Last year, both Cosco and CMA CGM opened direct lines between China and Tripoli's Port.
Tamer said all Lebanese and foreign importers from China and West Asia can now benefit from the weekly shipping line undertaken by Cosco and CMA CGM, which offers quick services at low prices.