Saturday, June 4, 2011

Shipping and Road Freight Update From the Hot Spots

State-of-Play for Yemen and Libya
Shipping News Feature

LIBYA / YEMEN – According to logistics operator GAC the situation in both countries is unsurprisingly complex and liable to change.

At the current time Yemeni ports are unaffected by the deteriorating security situation and growing disruption being experienced in that country.

However, trucking and road haulage has been affected by the fighting, with operators experiencing difficulty in obtaining fuel and by clashes in different Yemeni cities.

Meanwhile in Libya, Benghazi is reported to be calm, despite a car bomb attack by suspected pro-Gaddafi elements operating in the city, and the main port is operating.

The situation throughout the eastern part of the country, now under control of the Benghazi-based Transitional National Council (TNC), appears to be quiet with the eastern front to the West of the city of Ajdabiyah, where sporadic fighting and a stalemate has been reported.

In Misrata, heavy clashes have been reported on all three fronts, especially in the Dafniya area to the west. There have been no significant attacks reported on the city's vital port in the last week, though this is limited to use by specific relief operations.

Misrata’s airport is currently closed, though there are reports of clear up operations underway. It seems unlikely to be operational to standard air freight for the foreseeable future.

Tripoli is still subject to NATO airstrikes, which have recently been extended for another ninety days. The city is essentially closed to international freight services, with a fuel shortage increasingly affecting local transport.

Fighting has also intensified along the Tunisian border. Most of the inhabitants of the region have declared loyalty to the TNC and this has led to relentless bombardment and indiscriminate rocket attacks on rebel held areas by Gaddafi forces.

Amnesty International has reported that scores of young men have disappeared at the hands of Gaddafi forces, while many of the regions inhabitants have fled across the border to Tunisia.

Heavy fighting was reported on 2 June in the Libyan town of Zintan (240 km from Tunisian-Libyan border), while Tunisian border patrol units remain on alert after shells were fired into Tunisia by pro-Gaddafi forces on 1 June.

The border is technically open to road freight, but at the moment only supplies to TNC forces in the area are passing through. With the fluid situation on this front this can change rapidly.