Ensuring Yemen’s lifeline: the criticality of all Yemeni ports (as of 13 Nov 2017) [EN/AR]


Yemen has historically been 80 to 90 per cent dependent on imported food, medicines and fuel. All ports, including Al Hudaydah, Saleef, and Aden are necessary to meeting Yemen’s needs, as these ports service the population with varying capacities and proximities to population centres.

Yemen requires monthly food imports of approximately 350,000 MT for survival, of which humanitarian imports are about 75,000 MT. Close to 80 per cent of imports, including commercial and humanitarian goods enter through Al Hudaydah/Saleef Ports. Combined, these have a handling capacity of 660,000 MT per month (150,000 MT fuel, 295,000 MT Food, 90,000 MT NFIs) and a milling capacity of 8,000 MT per day. Although Al Hudaydah has sustained conflict-related damage, even at reduced capacity there is no viable substitute for the port both in terms of infrastructure and proximity to Yemen’s largest population centres. Approximately 71 per cent of the people in need in Yemen, and 82 per cent of all cholera cases (as of 31 October) are located in areas controlled by the authorities in the northern part of the country and in close proximity to these ports.

The remaining 30 per cent of Yemeni imports are entering through Aden Port in the south. Aden has the capacity to accommodate 280,000 MT of imports per month, including 50,000 MT fuel and 80,000 MT food. The port has a milling capacity of 2,400 MT per day, insufficient to meet the needs for the entire country, which is 8,400 MT. If all cargo were to be diverted to Aden port, congestion would likely result in considerable delays and high demurrage costs and there would be gaps in the supply of key commodities.

The other entry points into Yemen are from Salalah port in Oman from the east, and Jizan port in Saudi Arabia from the north. Shipments from Salalah would enter Yemen through Shahen land port, which is 1,478 km east of Sana’a and would take the average truck approximately three days to traverse. Shipments coming from the Saudi Arabia port of Jizan, would need to travel east to cross into Yemen through Al Wadiah land crossing in Hadhramaut. Overall, shipments from Jizan to Sana’a would have to travel for six days across 1,239 km. Jizan port has a limited milling capacity of 600 MT per day, and a storage capacity of 120,000 MT, which also caters for Saudi Arabia’s domestic needs.

Transporting humanitarian aid on a large scale from Aden, Jizan, and Salalah ports to areas with the highest number of people in need, would entail crossing conflict areas and frontlines, and can present delays, clearance restrictions, security-related complications, high transportation costs and disruption of supplies.


UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit