8 million tons of Malian goods blocked in Abidjan

Bamako- Mali (PANA) -- Over eight million tons of Malian goods are still blocked at Abidjan Port, Cote d'Ivoire's economic capital, sources at the Malian Council of Loaders said here Friday.
The council, composed of forwarding agents and importers, explained that only about 50 of the 238 Malian trucks stranded in the neighbouring country had been able to return home since the 19 September military insurrection.
"Only the trucks from Bouake (still controlled by mutineers) were able to cross the border.
The fate of trucks blocked between Bouake and Abidjan is still uncertain," a member of the council told PANA in Bamako.
A delegation of Malian businessmen is scheduled to leave for Abidjan Sunday to accelerate the clearing of Malian cargo from Ivorian warehouses.
The source said that Malian importers would request the Ivorian customs department to exonerate them from paying storage charges and other penalties for the concerned goods.
Concern is rising among many Malian industrialists that their perishable imports would be destroyed after staying for many days in Ivorian warehouses.
"Our government needs to take urgent appropriate measures to speed up the movement of Malian goods particularly because 80 percent of Malian goods transit through the port of Abidjan," the president of the Malian Council of Loaders, Amadou Djigue, told an emergency meeting.
To prevent an upsurge of basic commodity prices in the landlocked Sahelian country, the industrialist urged the Malian government to divert the stranded goods to Lome port in Togo, or Tema, in Ghana, whose border has not been closed by Ivorian authorities.
According to a recent report by the National Statistics and Computerisation Department, goods worth 165 billion FCFA transited through Cote d'Ivoire in 2001.
These included fuel oil (88 billion FCFA), lime and cement (29.
3 billion), fertilisers (5 billion), sugar and candies (3.
6 billion.

11 october 2002 18:43:00

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