| TOBRUK, Libya, March 4
TOBRUK, Libya, March 4 Mutual suspicion with
neighbour Egypt threatens to halt a revival in the fortunes of
Libya's eastern port of Tobruk, officials there said.
New restrictions on travellers and goods passing the nearby
land border are hitting container volumes, said Nasser Zgogo,
operations manager at the port.
"This will have a negative impact," he said.
Both countries have sought to limit travellers passing the
land border. Egypt is worried that Islamist militants smuggle
weapons over the border to help supporters of toppled President
Mohamed Mursi. Libya is concerned that emigrants from Egypt and
sub-Saharan countries come on forged visas.
Once a backwater neglected under Muammar Gaddafi, Tobruk's
port has seen a rise in activity as foreign goods enter a new
market. Western products such as perfumes, quality fashion and
food as well as cars were hard to get in Libya's once
In 2013, Tobruk's port saw around 220 ships discharging
622,427 tonnes of goods, port data showed. This compares with
50,801 tonnes in 2011 and 245,472 tonnes in 2012.
The rise comes partly from trade with Egypt where importers
have used Tobruk and then bring their goods by truck across the
border to avoid the busy Egyptian port of Alexandria and pay
less in duties, officials told Reuters during a visit to the
Tribesmen have also kidnapped Egyptian truck drivers to
demand ransom, while police found last month seven Egyptians
killed execution-style on a beach near Benghazi.
Tobruk, also home to a 110,000 barrels a day oil port now
closed by a protest, is Libya's fifth-largest commercial port,
(Reporting by Ulf Laessing; Editing by William Hardy)