Latakia, Syria (PortSEurope) April 8, 2019 – From October 2019, Iran is to lease the Latakia container terminal of Latakia port, gaining a highly strategic foothold in the Eastern Mediterranean, 322 km by sea from key Israeli port of Haifa.
Israeli Channel 12 broadcaster said in February that Iran operates a precision missile factory on the outskirts of Latakia and very close to Russian Khmeimim Air Force Base in Syria. Iran is also working on the construction of a power plant in Latakia.
State-owned Latakia is Syria’s main commercial port. Its harbour is 135 hectares, has 32 wharfs, 18 cranes, its channel depth is 14.5 metres, the warehouses provide 62.8 hectares and can handle some three million tonnes of cargo a year.
In 2009, CMA CGM signed a concession agreement with Latakia Port General Company (LPGC) to manage and operate the container terminal for a period of 10 years (extendable to 15 years). The terminal is operated by a consortium composed of CMA CGM/Terminal Link (51%), and Souria Holding (49%), a Syrian Limited Liability Company.
It is rumoured that Russia was against the lease of Latakia port of Iran, but Teheran has provided the Syrian government with billions of dollars of credits and significant fuel supplies. Despite their cooperation, the rivalry between Tehran and Moscow is becoming visible in post-war Syria.
Iran has been repeatedly asking Syria for access to its ports, due to Israeli airstrikes against its shipments via Syria’s roads and airports, but under Russian pressure, Damascus did not cooperating. Now, Teheran will have its own port which will help Iran move goods (according to Israel, also weapons) towards Lebanon.
It is believed that companies linked to Iranian Revolutionary Guard have already started using the port of Latakia, which would become the Mediterranean link on an emerging trading route through the so-called Shia crescent from Iran through Iraq.
Copyright (C) PortSEurope. All Rights Reserved. 2019.