By Sami Zaptia.
London, 16 April 2020:
The Tripoli Chamber of Commerce and Industry today called for the immediate intervention by relevant Libyan authorities into the crisis of the 180 goods-laden trucks and their 250 drivers and assistants stranded on the Libyan-Tunisian border for the last month.
The goods transporters are laden mostly with foodstuffs en-route to Libya and were detained in situ as part of the border closures announced by both countries as part of their respective anti-Coronavirus measures. They are in effect detained at the Tunisian border crossing unable to enter Libya nor return into Tunisia.
The Chamber says that the matter is particularly pertinent in view of the loud calls by many sides in Libya for the urgent opening of Letters of Credit by the Tripoli Central Bank of Libya (CBL) to avoid food shortages and to increase the national strategic food stocks. There have been many calls for the opening of LCs in view of the Coronavirus pandemic and the onset of the fasting month of Ramadan in a week’s time. The CBL has stopped opening LCs due to lack of state revenues due to the oil stoppage since January.
The Tripoli Chamber warned that neither the goods nor their drivers were in ideal conditions isolated on the border crossing – with the goods not stored in proper conditions. It accused the relevant authorities of ‘‘indifference’’ to the crisis and leaving the drivers’ health and the money of importers ‘‘to the faith of the winds’’. This, it suggested, would lose the confidence of the Libyan private sector in the current Libyan authorities.
It called for the immediate intervention to end the stranded foodstuff-laden trucks crisis and the settling the situation of drivers. It held the relevant authorities responsible for the continued and unjustified extension of the detention of the trucks for any damage to their goods, and called for the compensation of the Libyan goods importers.