Business

Mideast-based shipper Aramex halts Yemen shipments

By ADAM SCHRECK

The head of Aramex says the Middle East-based shipping company has stopped accepting packages from Yemen after last week›s parcel bomb plot.

CEO Fadi Ghandour told The Associated Press on Wednesday the firm made the decision to halt shipments immediately after the plot was uncovered Friday.

«From day one — absolutely,» Ghandour said, adding that the ban remains in place indefinitely. «It›s a precautionary measure for us until we understand what›s happening.»

Officials believe the explosives, destined for the U.S., were sent by al-Qaida operatives in Yemen. One of the bombs hidden inside a printer was discovered in a FedEx shipment in Dubai, where Aramex maintains its main air hub.

Ghandour said Aramex has begun tightening security measures at shipping sites in Dubai and elsewhere.

He provided few details, but said the company is boosting existing screening procedures put in place since 9/11 and is urging its employees to be more diligent about handling packages. Small parcels require particular attention, he said.

Aramex is trying to get further guidance from government officials, particularly in the U.S., but they have not received much information, Ghandour said.

«We›re in discussions with authorities in various countries to understand what they want. It›s a developing story,» he said. «There are a lot of unknowns.»

Aramex is headquartered in Dubai and is listed on the city-state›s main stock exchange. It also has corporate offices in Jordan. While the Middle East remains its biggest market, Aramex has operations in Europe, Asia and the U.S.

Yemen is a small market for it and other freight companies. The company is still making deliveries to Yemen, Ghandour said.