Transportation in Yemen:  Present & Future [Archives:1999/31/Business & Economy]

August 2 1999

International Transport: A Vehicle For Economy 
Given the importance of transport industry for the national economy and trade promotion, the Consultative Council has organized a Forum dedicated to discuss transport conditions in Yemen, obstacles and future horizons during the period 18th through July 20th, 1999. Abdulaziz S. Alariqi, a leading transport economist, has followed the events of this important forum. The Yemen times met with Mr. Alariqi and talked with him on the importance of transport industry. 
First we asked Mr. Abdulaziz Alariqi about the issue of globalization and liberalization of trade. In short we tried to address a burning issue related to the new order in economy and its impact on marine and international transport. On this important topic, Mr. Alariqi said:” I think the answer to this question gives a full summary of this forum organized by the CC and directed by such an experienced personality as Mr. Abdulaziz Abdulghani. In reply to your question, let me tell you that in the New World Order, the port is no more the final destination, nor will it be the starting point. The port has now become a mere passage of commodities movement and a knot in an interdependent chain of means. Traders and merchants no longer move to the port ( the traditional place of delivery). The same thing holds good for the producers and manufacturers whose commodities can be picked up at their factories and plants. The technological advance in transport and logistics has made it possible to receive and to ship the products at factory/merchant stores. This is now done through what has become known as the International Transport Contract Door To Door Credit. This operation is organized and controlled by a set of international rules issued by the International Chamber of Commerce which primarily tries to cope up with the resultant changes within the framework of the GATT Agreement. 
As we said above, the International Transport Contractor can now forward the consignment from the exporter’s site to the importer’s through an integrated system of transportation, including trucks, steamships, trains, aircraft or vessels used in river transport. The revolution in communication technology has enabled both importer and exporter to trace and track on the consignment anywhere in the world, either on board of a steamship, an aircraft, etc. This technology has helped businessmen to send/receive the original documents of the consignment in less than few seconds.” 
On how far Yemen has advanced in the field of “International 
Transport Contract” Mr. Abdulaziz says: 
Since globalization is an inevitable world trend, it will be necessary for any country to catch up with systems that can enable it to meet the requirements of the international transport so as to produce efficient services, smooth passage of commodities through the local transport system. Let me stress that the efficiency of the International Transport System very much depends on the efficiency of local means of transport, such as highways, rivers, railways, air and sea ports. Completion of the basic and legal framework for the electronic exchange of data is similarly important. This mechanism should enjoy complete legal recognition and any documents produced through this way must be treated as legal. (Skoda Customs System is one track in the course of this development. 
This issue needs to be addressed as quickly and seriously as possible. 

Transportation, Its Condition, Obstacles and Future 
A symposium on “Transportation, Its Condition, Obstacles and its Future” was organized by the Consultative Council headed by Mr. Abdulaziz Abdulghani, President of the Council. Mr. Abdulghani hoped that the symposium would come out with practical recommendations and suggestions that could improve transportation in our country. 
During the discussion, the Minister of Transportation, Mr. Abdulmalik Assayyani, pointed out that the symposium will try to reach practical solutions to remedy the present shortcomings in transportation, which is very crucial due to its connection with other economic sectors. The symposium was attended by Mr. Muhsin Al-Aini. A number of papers were presented and discussed by the representatives of the relevant organizations and a number of practical strategies were suggested. 
In his paper, Mr. Khalid Al-Kohlani, representative of the General Organization of Civil Aviation and Meteorology, highlighted the important role played by the organization in the field of general development. He specified the following obstacles to air navigation: 
1- The deteriorating state of the tourism industry in the country especially during the last few years. 
2- The commercial stagnancy. 
3- The low per capita income. 
4- Lack of promotion of some of the foreign companies in our country. 
He also presented the following solutions: 
1- Improving tourism sector. 
2- Improving the commercial movement 
3- Improving the standard of the per capita income. 
4- Following an open-air policy. 
In addition, he talked about the following achievements: 
1- A number of national qualified specialists are now able to manage the civil aviation affairs properly. 
2- The Yemeni air navigation has been under control. 
3- A regional center for air navigation has been established. 
4- Face-lifting a number of airports. 
5- Improving Aden International Airport. 
Another paper presented in the symposium was about the strategies for tackling export and import problems. The paper was presented by Dr. Mohammed Ahmad Al-Hawi and Dr. Mansour Ali Al-Bashiri. They talked about the importance of export in the fields of economic and social development, underscoring the important Yemeni exports. Elaborating on the point they explained that the average of the petroleum exports in Yemen was larger than the average of all the other exports taken together. Eatable animals and food came next. In addition, the paper pointed out that the export average of the private sector did not exceed 2.7%. This , in fact, reflects the weak base of exportation in our country. There is a connection between transportation and exportation sectors. This requires developed means of transportation away from monopoly. Land transportation is owned by both governmental and private sectors, but the most decisive role is played by the private sector. It is noticed that monopolizing transportation is hindering the industrial and commercial activities and thus leading to an increase in the production and the cost of the product. 
Sea transportation . 
Yemen is gifted with long coasts along the Red sea and the Arabian sea. The Government is trying to promote the Yemeni harbors by providing them with advanced equipment. One of the Government’s greatest achievements in this regard is Aden free zone. There are, of course, other harbors but sea transportation has its own problems. Here are some of them: 
1- The absence of organized naval lines due to the deteriorating state of exportation. 
2- The complicated routine followed by the harbors administration that makes the coast of shipping very high. 
3- Except Al-Hodeidah harbor, the other Yemeni harbors lack the storage and cold storage facilities. This hinders the fast exportation of fish and the agricultural products. 
.Air transportation 
The participation of air navigation in transporting goods is still modest. Finally, Yemeni exporters must be supported with regard to shipping fish and the agricultural products in order to enable them to compete in the foreign markets. 
Ahlam Al-Mutawakel 
Yemen Times