The Syrian Ministry of Transport decided to transfer the phosphate exported from the state-run port of Latakia to the port of Tartous, which is owned by a Russian company, which deprived the port workers of the large financial benefit they used to obtain from loading phosphate to export ships.
The head of the Maritime Transport Workers Union in Latakia, Samir Haidar, confirmed that the Ministry of Transport’s decision was surprising and the Ministry had protested that phosphate causes environmental pollution, denying the validity of this statement, because, according to him, the material is placed in completely sealed bags and does not pollute the environment.
Haider added, in a statement to the pro-regime newspaper Al-Watan, that stopping the export of phosphate from the port of Latakia is considered a disaster as it has stopped large revenues that were supporting the public treasury with billions of liras.
Haider pointed out that there is an annual contract to load about one million tons of phosphate per year and return it entirely to the public treasury, in addition to the decision causing the cessation of work and the social situation that benefits everyone.
The head of the Port Workers Union in Latakia explained that transferring ships that want to load phosphate from the port of Latakia, which is a public sector, to the port of Tartus, which is invested in the private sector, means that the public treasury’s share will not exceed 25 percent of the revenues, instead of being 100 percent from the port of Latakia, in addition to transferring A number of ships from the port of Tartus to the Lebanese port of Tripoli due to the cessation of navigation traffic at times.
Russia took the rights to invest in the port of Tartus in 2019 for a period of 49 years, which is the same period stipulated in the previous lease agreements for the Hmeimim base near Latakia and the naval maintenance center near the port of Tartus, which Moscow is working to expand and turn into a huge naval military base.