Thursday, April 14, 2011

Dollar shortages hit Yemen ship container trade

By Jonathan Saul

Apr 14, 2011

LONDON (Reuters) - A shortage of dollars is leading to slower ship container trade in Yemen although there are no disruptions to seaborne activity from unrest in the country, a port adviser said on Thursday.

Yemen, the Arab world's poorest country, relies heavily on its sea lanes for trade.

Roy Facey, port development adviser to the Port of Aden, said the Aden Container Terminal and the neighboring terminal at Ma'alla were seeing a slower number of box consignments being handled, with bagged sugar imports affected.

"The traffic volumes are lower because of the shortage of U.S. dollars in the banks for traders to purchase goods from outside," he told Reuters.

"A lack of dollars in the local market causes serious problems for traders in opening LCs (letters of credit)."

Ma'alla also handles general and dry bulk cargo.

Yemen's opposition rejected an offer on Thursday to join Gulf-mediated talks in Saudi Arabia on a transfer of power and set a two-week deadline for President Ali Abdullah Saleh to step aside.

A number of companies and public organizations have boosted security at port facilities around Aden due to the unrest although there have not been disruptions to operations.

"There is no change to the situation at the port, which is operating normally," Facey said.

Saudi and Western allies of Yemen fear a prolonged standoff in the Arabian Peninsula state could ignite clashes between rival military units in the capital and elsewhere and cause chaos which would benefit an active Yemen-based al Qaeda wing.

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