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Jordan ensures uninterrupted wheat, barley imports despite Red Sea tensions

By Maria Weldali - Dec 25,2023 - Last updated at Dec 25,2023

Representative image (Photo courtesy of unsplash)

AMMAN — Amid rising Red Sea tensions, the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Supply’s spokesperson Yanal Barmawi said that over 90 per cent of Jordan’s imports of wheat and barley remain unaffected.

According to the spokesperson, “Wheat and barley imports are transported by sea from a number of Eastern European countries including Romania and Montenegro reaching Aqaba port via the Suez Canal.” 

Disruptions in Red Sea shipping have prompted the suspension of several operations leading shippers to reroute and explore other adaptations and routes, he told The Jordan Times. 

In this regard, Transport Minister Wisam Tahtamouni on Sunday met with representatives of the Amman Chamber of Industry (ACI), to discuss means to find alternative routes to sea freight to both Europe and the US amid the Red Sea escalating tensions. 

The minister’s meeting with ACI representatives coincides with increasing freight prices due to the rising tensions in the Bab Al Mandeb Strait which is situated between Yemen on the Arabian Peninsula and Djibouti and Eritrea on the African coast.

Tahtamouni mentioned that 65 per cent of Jordan’s imports pass through the Bab Al Mandeb Strait, meanwhile ACI President Fathi Jaghbir highlighted the potential adverse effects on Jordan’s imports and exports if the strait remains closed. 

The minister also said that prior to the current tensions; Jordan and Egypt had an agreement approximately two years ago to establish an alternative freight route from and to Mediterranean ports with special privileges and facilities. 

International news outlets reported that over 17,000 ships pass through the Bab Al Mandeb Strait and is classified as one of the key routes globally; the ongoing tensions are regarded as major blow to global trade.

The average monthly consumption of flour suitable for bread is nearly 52,000 tonnes, which equals 1,750 tonnes of flour per day, according to figures released by the ministry. 

The country’s wheat stock is currently around 810,000 tonnes which covers local consumption for nine months. 

The ministry has recently floated a tender for purchase of 120,000 tonnes of wheat, with the aim to reinforce the country’s wheat stock.

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