Image: Gulf Daily News
Bahrain causeway truck crisis worsens
Manama, January 24, 2013
Truck chaos near the King Fahad Causeway in Bahrain worsened yesterday as scores of frustrated drivers seeking entry into Saudi Arabia argued with Customs staff at the border, a report said.
Some drivers were quoted by the Gulf Daily News, our sister newspaper, as saying that they have been waiting to be cleared by Bahrain Customs since last week.
"We have no place to sit, eat or even go to the toilet as many drivers are literally living on the road," said one driver.
He said that Customs staff, who were allegedly rude to drivers, cleared just 10 trucks a day to enter Saudi Arabia - resulting in a backlog of commercial vehicles near the causeway and in nearby Janabiya.
"Some of the trucks have food consignments which will get spoilt after a certain period, while other drivers are stuck here for weeks," added the driver on condition of anonymity.
"There are Indian, Pakistani, Yemeni and Syrian drivers waiting to enter Saudi Arabia and they have no clue what to do, except wait."
Another Pakistani truck driver said despite getting clearance to travel to Saudi Arabia on December 31, he had not been allowed to enter the country as yet.
"This has become my daily routine in the past two weeks," he said. "I get in the queue early morning and by evening, Customs do not allow my truck - that has a consignment of fibreglass - across. I have no option but to go back to Salmabad and park the truck."
Waiting trucks end up queuing on the Shaikh Isa bin Salman Highway and block access to several residential compounds in the Jasra and Janabiya areas.
"It is getting worse and dangerous because of the traffic chaos," said a Janabiya resident, who asked not to be named.
"Only one policeman is present at the location and the trucks have blocked all three lanes near the Janabiya flyover."
Tariq Transport managing director Tariq Al Wardi said 18 of his trucks had been stuck near the causeway for the past two weeks. "Frankly, no-one is bothered," he said.
"We are suffering huge losses," he said.
Officials at the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Industry and Commerce Ministry, Customs authorities and traders' committees have repeatedly said that they were trying to solve the problem. - TradeArabia News Service