Reuters reports a 20-30 day delay that is becoming commonplace in Morocco’s Casablanca port for discharge of cargo. Similar problems also affect Egypt’s Dekheila port on the Mediterranean.
Many ports in the Middle East and North Africa today have very long line-ups of vessels as port capacity to get the commodities into the supply chain is not sufficient.
Port congestion has been particularly pronounced in Egypt since three years of political turmoil triggered a currency crisis that made it hard to finance food and fuel imports.
In the summer of 2013, before the army ousted former President Mohamed Mursi, the funding crunch triggered a stream of smaller grain shipments, clogging up ports, as traders purchased on a hand-to-mouth basis.
Since then, more than $12 billion of aid from Gulf countries including Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the UAE has made funding less of a problem but some ports remain backlogged.
The resulting delays at ports pushes the price of imports higher because slow discharge rates are factored into freight calculations.
US agribusiness giant Cargill sees a pressing need for more investment to relieve port congestion in the Middle East and North Africa to ease delays that make governments pay more for imported food.
On the export side, Cargill is interested in new ideas for investment to get more Black Sea region grain exports to the world market while overcoming limitations of space for new facilities there.
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