LimakPort Iskenderun International Port in the southern Turkish province of Hatay is ready to be of use for all of Lebanon's needs following the devastating explosion at the Port of Beirut, Iskenderun port manager Gündüz Arısoy said Wednesday.
The statement came following Vice President Fuat Oktay’s earlier remarks that Ankara had told Lebanon that it can use Turkish ports on the Mediterranean coast, namely the Mersin International Port or the Iskenderun International Port, until the Port of Beirut is rebuilt. He also said Ankara is ready to send more medical assistance and food aid to help Lebanon following the blast, which claimed more than 100 lives and injured thousands, causing severe material damage as well.
Arısoy told Anadolu Agency (AA) that LimakPort Iskenderun is ready to support Lebanon with its capacity and service quality as an alternative to the Port of Beirut, which is expected to be out of use for a while after the explosion.
“LimakPort Iskenderun, with its 1 million TEU (twenty-foot equivalent unit) containers, 4 million tons of bulk cargo, 15,000 square meters (nearly 161,500 square feet) of storage area with a 200,000-vehicle capacity, along with 1 million-square-meter (247-acre) area has enough capacity for extra shipments to come for Beirut,” he said.
Some 14 container lines stop by at the port with 11 weekly services, he said, adding that in addition, all types of bulk, general cargo and Ro-Ro ships with unscheduled voyages can dock at the port.
LimakPort Iskenderun has two linear docks, one 552 meters (604 yards) long and the other 370 meters (405 yards) long, and double-sided parallel ports 260 meters (284 yards) in length. “It can accept vessels up to 400 meters (1,310 feet) long and 160,000 GRT (gross registered tons) with a total dock length of 1,442 meters (4,731 feet) and a water depth of 15.5 meters (50 feet),” Arısoy said.
Noting that Iskenderun is approximately 400 kilometers (248 miles) away from Beirut, Arısoy said that it is possible to reach Beirut in six hours.
Arısoy went on to say that Lebanon's import and export traffic can continue without a hiatus in this way, noting, "Lebanon, which has been experiencing difficult times with the impact of the pandemic period and now the explosion, can come across with even greater problems if the import and export traffic is disrupted.”
Hikmet Çinçin, chairman of the Antakya Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ATSO), also noted that they are ready to support the country by all means possible, noting that Iskenderun is an important port region and has also served as a critical logistics base in other crises.
The Port of Beirut is the largest shipping and clearing point in Lebanon, through which approximately 70% of the incoming and outgoing trade traffic to and from the country passes, according to the port's website.