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Ongoing political protests in Egypt appear to be affecting oceangoing trade in and out of the country, according to media reports and statements from liner carriers.
A note from maritime news service Alphaliner suggested that operations at Port Said, Damietta, Alexandria and Sokhna (on the Red Sea) have been severely hampered or suspended due to curfews implemented by the government to stave off the protests, which are aimed at ousting long-time president Hosni Mubarak.
"Some sources claimed that most ships heading for Egypt had not canceled their calls, but stated that the overnight curfew notably slowed loading operations," the Alphaliner release said. "The situation might however change on an hourly basis. Traffic at Alexandria and Dekheila reportedly came to a total standstill (Tuesday) and many container shipping lines are believed to search alternative routings for their vessels, either dropping the eastern Med calls entirely or diverting to alternative ports. The port of Damietta is not officially closed, but local sources claim that cargo operations have practically stopped since there are not port workers to operate the terminal equipment."
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