Lebanese agricultural exports have been severely hindered by the turmoil engulfing Syria, necessitating the use of alternative routes to ship produce.
Following a meeting of top Lebanese officials and representatives of shipping agencies, the country is now taking steps to facilitate the export of produce via maritime routes, according to Lebanese paper the Daily Star.
A first shipment containing 200 refrigerated containers of potatoes is reportedly set to make its way to the Gulf.
At the meeting support was voiced for the use of refrigerated containers instead of ro-ro ships. Container ships will now leave the port of Beirut every 36 hours.
According to Elie Zakhour, head of the Beirut International Chamber of Navigation, certain administrative barriers have also been abolished, with ports now accepting shipments until 6pm instead of 2pm, and with procedures eased for filling containers with produce.
Zakhour added that maritime shipments would cost around the same as sending via land routes, although the travel time might be slightly longer.
The shipping duration reportedly varies from one week to Port Said or Jeddah and three weeks to Aqaba, Jordan.
In the first half of 2012, agricultural exports from Lebanon fell by some 7 per cent compared with the year before.