More ammoniumnitrate found in the harbour
The Lebanese army on Sep 3 found a further 4.35 tonnes of the explosive ammonium nitrate a month after 2,750 tonnes of the substance exploded in the harbour and destroyed large parts of the city. The explosive substance was found in a warehouse immediately outside one of the entrances to the port, and engineers from the army took care of it. Simultaneously with the new discovery, it emerged that the outgoing Prime Minister Hassan Diab told the head of the investigation of the catastrophic explosion that he knew of the existence of the large amount of ammonium nitrate at the port before the explosion. 25 suspects have been arrested so far, including the port's chief of staff Hassan Koraytem and customs chief Badri Daher. Among the others arrested were also three Syrian workers who carried out welding work at the warehouse, where the huge amount of ammonium nitrate was stored, on the day the explosion took place. Up to 200 were killed and about 6,500 injured in the blast, causing damage to a double-digit billion.
Port operating again
The Port of Beirut (PoB) resumed partial operations on Aug 10 with the first two container ships berthing in the container terminal after the explosion which killed at least 160 persons, injured thousands and made hundred thousands homeless. Out of 16 cranes at the container terminal, 12 were currently operational. The port was gradually resuming operations to ensure the supply of all kinds of goods to citizens. Bassem Al Kaissi, the new Director of the PoB, said that the container terminal will be fully operational by Aug 14. Al Kaissi said that 420 containers were unloaded on Aug 10. The container terminal storage area has been cleaned up and restored to its state before the blast. The container terminal represents 80 percent of the overall cargo movement at the PoB. It is located one kilometer away from the blast epicenter. Container vessels can dock at quay number 16. Shipping movement at the PoB had already plunged by 75 percent due to the economic crisis and has reached 15 percent following the blast. Customs have opened offices in the PoB’s warehouse number 14 which was partially damaged. The customs have become able to carry out the inspection of merchandise- Customs duties are being temporarily paid at the Rafic Hariri International Airport. Tthe PoB is now handling only full containers as groupage consignment requires warehouses which don’t exist now. Amer Al Kaissi said groupage, which represents 15 percent of shipments at the PoB, will be diverted to the Port of Tripoli until the rebuilding of warehouses at the PoB is completed. The first two containerships to berth at the PoB after the blast were the 'Electra' (Gezairi Transport) and the 'Nicolas Delmas' (CMA CGM). The 'Electra', which was carrying 400 containers, was diverted to Tripoli where there was a license to operate but the company insisted to unload it in Beirut when it was told that the PoB has resumed operation. The CMA CGM Group and CEVA Logistics said they are fully operational and ensuring business continuity to serve their customers. The Group has redeployed its employees in its two back-up sites in Beirut Digital District and reinforced its presence in Tripoli. Part of CMA CGM’s vessels has been temporarily directed to Tripoli. Few shipping companies are authorized to operate in other ports such as Tripoli or Saida. BCTC, the Customs and the PoB’s authorities did their best to handle the clearing formalities despite the difficult working conditions. The general cargo area was fully operational on Aug 12 both for imports and exports. This includes wheat and other grains as well as construction steel bars. The cost of rebuilding the port is estimated at around $1 billion.
Dozens killed and injured in massive explosion
A powerful explosion rocked Beirut port on Aug 4, 2020, killing and injuring dozens of people, and causing widespread damage. There was no clarity yet with regards to the cause of explosions, and what triggered it. The talk was of a firework factory which blew up. Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pR88CECmTso&feature=emb_titleUpload News