Author Archives: Thomas Schellen

Thinking Positive

Thinking Positive

Talk to local manufacturers and you won’t hear a lot of talk about demand cycles and product innovation, successful brand building and the occupation of new niches in international markets. Instead you are more likely to get an ear full about issues such as excessive location costs and energy prices, the overbearing bureaucracy, unpredictable and

Looking for new markets

The export data for 2003 is in, and it’s up nicely. At $1.52 billion, Lebanese exports increased by a substantial 31.4% on 2002, which in itself was a good year. Sector leaders have pounded their fists ad nauseam that exporting is where it’s at for Lebanese industries and industrial exports in particular can pump new

Labor Market Limbo

Employment and unemployment are two words that politicians love to use. They understand that an economy is equal to consumption, which entails income, which in turn entails a salary and yes, a salary requires a job. Politicians are thus duty-bound to maximize employment and develop human resources, to achieve optimum productivity. The same cannot be

Waiting to offload

The matter of greatest obvious concern for stakeholders in sea and overland transportation is the new container terminal at Beirut Port. Idle since its completion some three years ago, the $200 million project’s commencement of operations depends on two factors: contracting an operator and installation of essential equipment, like the so-called gantry cranes. Three of

Shipping Forecast

Marked by an insider language and a particular way of life, modern shipping and transportation has long established its very own culture of connecting nations, cultures, and markets. It has a history of its own, which reaches farther back than that of most other economic activities. Today, the industry consists of a huge variety of

Tracking fast movers

Beirut Cargo Center “Freight forwarding is a profitable business in Beirut but there is room for much more,” says Joseph Harb, president of Beirut Cargo Center (BCC), “I always tell my team that we are only at 10% of what is in our reach.” One of no more than 15 forwarders with a strong presence

Q&A: Tameem Jad

Bank Al Baraka Lebanon has a new management and new dynamics. The bank, which has five branches here and operates according to Islamic banking principles, is part of the Dalla Al Baraka Group, whose principal shareholder is billionaire Saudi financier, Sheikh Salah Kamel. The group includes banks and asset management operations in the Middle East.

Playing it safe

To the credit of the aviation sector, December’s deadly crash of the Union des Transports Africains plane appears not to have damaged consumer confidence in the region’s leading airlines. Established carriers and Arab niche operators all agreed that they are in a different league to a company like UTA and Flash and have nothing to

Doom and gloom

Views on Lebanon’s economic perspectives have tended throughout the post-war period to concentrate on macroeconomic and fiscal issues. As a result of the worsening fiscal situation, socioeconomic needs in the last few years became overshadowed to a worrying degree by concerns over the national debt and its servicing. The state’s ongoing and exasperating procrastination in

Beating the odds

Optimism has for years been a prominent feature of Lebanese banking, a central nerve embedded into the firm spine of conservatism that upholds the Lebanese banking and finance industries. The country’s banks all have reasons to ooze optimism, given the sector’s overwhelming importance in the national economy and their performance record of deposit security over

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