Beirut’s container terminal has restarted operations and sustained only minor damage in last week’s explosion, German container line Hapag Lloyd said on Tuesday, adding that it has resumed shipping services to the port.
The blast, which killed more than 160 people and injured 6,000 more, demolished entire neighborhoods of Lebanon’s capital in an instant. Container lines diverted ships to Lebanon’s smaller port of Tripoli to keep vital supply lines running.
“We are glad to advise that the container terminal suffered only minor damage and it has restarted operations,” Hapag Lloyd said in a note to customers, adding that its first ship to call at Beirut since the disaster is due to dock on Aug. 14.
"Alongside our service reinstatement, we are also reopening booking acceptance for cargo to and from Beirut," the company said, adding that it was still evaluating the extent of damage to its containers that were in the port at the time of the blast.
Hapag Lloyd's office in Beirut had been completely destroyed but staff were unharmed.
Lebanon, which imports almost everything it uses, relies on container ships to bring in items ranging from refrigerated food cargoes to clothing and other consumer goods.
Beirut's container port has an annual average capacity of just over 1 million TEUs (20-foot equivalent units), compared with Tripoli's 400,000 TEUs, which could be enlarged to 600,000 TEUs and a maximum of 750,000 TEUs if more cranes are installed, shipping data shows.