Syrian Maritime



The Situation in Syria - New Opportunities Emerging The country is continuing its progress towards opening the economy, both to foreign investment and to wider participation of the private sector. Syrian Investment Law No.10, which came into effect in 1991, was a significant step in this direction, allowing the country to attract local and foreign investors. The law established a wide range of incentives for investors, including freedom from import duties on goods imported for an approved project, and the ability to repatriate profits and revenues, and to qualify for certain tax concessions.

Consequently Syrian overseas investment funds have returned in good quantity, while other Arab investors, especially from Saudi Arabia, have become active in Syria. From the point of view of natural resources, the country is rich in oil and gas as well as minerals, and numerous oil companies are investing and exploring, with the future appearing promising. Syria has the Smallest Fleet in the Middle East The national fleet is small - just under 300 vessels of approximately 350,000 grt. It is relatively old, and is controlled by a number of small owners. Private sector owners predominate and their role has increased in recent years, as they have gained a growing share of Syrian domestic trade - particularly imports - which have increased because of expansion in agricultural and industrial projects. Incentives for the development of the private shipping sector in Syria range from highly favourable tax considerations, to various privileges for Syrian flag vessels at home ports. Further incentives through recent legislation, such as Investment Law No.10, are creating the conditions for a considerable expansion of the Syrian fleet, and the private sector in particular is responding to the challenge. Al-Sham Shipping represents an Opportunity to Build an International Company The formation of Al-Sham Shipping Company in May 1994, the first maritime joint venture between the government and private interests, marked a significant step towards the development of the Syrian maritime sector. The founders/shareholders cherish the objective of building up a national company representing a completely new trend in the Syrian maritime industry. This company is capitalized and operated to the highest standards. Based on government support and with a strong financial shareholding base, it is expected that Al-Sham will play a leading role in the development of the Syrian maritime sector, in having a presence in the international shipping market. Al-Sham Shipping Company will be Free from Restriction Syrian investment law includes many incentives, such as no restrictions regarding share ownership/share transfer with foreign partners. However, it should be noted that the company has been granted certain incentives which go beyond the normal conditions of Investment Law No 10/1991. These incentives include: Income tax exemption. No restrictions on hard currency transactions, either in or out. Normal Loan Conditions Apply to International Lenders International lenders to Al-Sham Shipping Company will be afforded all of the usual guarantees and securities of commercial funding, including power of ship arrest, even when the vessel is flying a Syrian flag. The terms and conditions are explained in more detail in the Appendices.