Libya food imports fall as turmoil disrupts deliveries

Imports of food, including wheat, are dropping sharply to Libya, which has the highest per capita bread consumption in the world, as foreign shippers run scared of making direct deliveries due to worsening turmoil.

As published by Reuters 31 July 2015

The country is in chaos, with two governments fighting one another and armed groups roaming uncontrolled, among them Islamic State militants who have attacked oilfields.

There no signs of food shortages so far, but some prices are rising due to higher insurance costs or more expensive overland deliveries via neighbouring countries, sometimes stolen by gunmen posing as security officials at fake checkpoints.

Warplanes belonging to the internationally recognised government based in the east have bombed several commercial ports held by rivals and also attacked ships it says were servicing them, although the ship owners dispute this.

The risks are now so high ship owners should contact their insurers before each trip, said Jonathan Moss, head of transport with law firm DWF, who acts for insurers.

"Security advice to ships calling at ports in Libya may change from day to day," he said. "Vessels transiting through the Mediterranean are advised to remain clear of Libyan waters."

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Jonathan Moss

Partner - Head of Transport Sector

I act for international traders, charterers, shipowners, insurers and reinsurers, handling commercial disputes. I also advise on day-to-day issues arising in the context of the sale of goods and their transportation.