The Maersk Narmada vessel recently became the last Maersk vessel to dock in Syria, ending the company's ten-year operations in the country. The company's withdrawal is reportedly due to the difficulties of navigating sanctions.
The Syrian government is negotiating to extend the contract it has with French shipping giant CMA CGM over the management of the port of Lattakia’s container terminal. The Ministry of Transport has established a committee to negotiate with the French company but that does not necessarily mean that the contract with LICT will be eventually extended.
A decision by the Syrian government to shift phosphate exports handled by the Port of Lattakia to the port of Tartous has highlighted tensions between the foreign private operators of these ports and the government. Syria holds the fourth or fifth largest rock phosphate reserves worldwide.
Following the publication of our article titled "French Shipping Company Positions Itself to Benefit from Potential Improvement of Ties with Regime," we received the following answer from French shipping group CMA CGM.
While Damascus’ rapprochement with the Arab World is accelerating, the United States and members of the European Union, among which France features prominently, still claim that their policy on Syria is unchanged. However, a growing number of French analysts have reported that powerful economic lobbies are pushing the French presidential palace to restore ties with the regime in the hope that France will reap economic benefits. The recent visit by a board member of the Damascus Chamber of Commerce to Paris only lends credence to these claims.
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