Experts urge investment in national maritime freight fleet

aqaba container terminal
(File photo: Jordan News)
AMMAN — Economists have called for the introduction of modern legislation that encourages investment in maritime transportation and shipping to reduce the Kingdom’s dependency on foreign couriers and ensure that its products are distributed globally.اضافة اعلان

In statements to the Jordan News Agency, Petra, they said that encouraging investment in the maritime and shipping sectors will benefit the national economy and shield it from swings in shipping prices and global supply disruptions.

National exports climbed by 37.2 percent in the first two months of 2022, while imports increased by 32.9 percent compared to the same period last year, according to government figures. The gain in exports, however, was offset by a 31.2 percent increase in the country’s trade deficit.

Mohammad Dalabeeh, secretary-general of the Jordan Navigation Syndicate, said that the launch of a national sea freight fleet will generate significant income for Jordan and limit the effects of growing freight costs globally, as well as contribute to the country’s economic stability.

He noted that the Kingdom had had a maritime transport fleet 20 years ago, but that “we lost this fleet despite our need for it in these tough times.”

Jordan has become one of the world’s major producers and exporters of phosphates, potash, bromine, fertilizers, and chemical acids, according to Dalabeeh, bolstering the case for a national shipping fleet.

Dalabeeh argued that it was no longer feasible to rely on a global shipping fleet that was still reeling from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic to transport this national output to the rest of the globe.

Nabil Khatib, the head of the Logistics Syndicate, painted a bleak picture for investment in maritime shipping services, claiming that current conditions do not permit such large investments.

He said that costs of ships, old and new containers, and operating costs are all major roadblocks to such investment.

Furthermore, he noted, this type of investment necessitates significant capital from both the public and private sectors, which is currently unavailable.

Khatib warned that rising freight prices could pose significant problems to Jordan’s economy, particularly in light of indications of new imminent hikes in sea freight rates.

“We projected a 10 percent increase, but early signs suggest it may be as high as 25 percent,” he said.

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