A Special Issue: Truckers East
As numerous industrialization programs got underway in the Middle East in the early 1970’s (Aramco World, January-February, 1977), massive imports from the industrialized world began to clog major seaports and air terminals in the Red Sea and the Arabian Gulf. To maintain the flow of needed imports, therefore, most Middle Eastern countries turned to overland transport—great trucks hauling cargo by road. Soon, fleets of trucks were pounding east carrying thousands of tons of freight, on routes pioneered by two enterprising English drivers. For truckers, it meant a level of activity unprecedented in the industry.
To tell the story of the east-bound trucks, John Lawton, a veteran UPI correspondent now a free-lance reporter and writer in Istanbul, and Tor Eigeland, a Black Star photographer based in Spain, criss-crossed Europe and the Middle East interviewing and photographing drivers, owners, shippers and officials in most of the countries visited. They also rode with drivers on various legs of the trip and Lawton rode one rig all the way from London to the Saudi Arabian frontier
A third contributor is S.M. Amin, the Aramco photographer who captured the reverent beauty of the Hajj in a special issue of Aramco World (November-December 1974). Amin spent two weeks following the big rigs, by air and by automobile, through Saudi Arabia to destinations in Dammam, Dhahran and al Khobar. —The Editors