New solution for Bahrain-Saudi trucks crisis
Manama, August 27, 2013
Lengthy delays that have plagued truckers heading to Saudi Arabia from Bahrain could be resolved in the next two weeks with a new truck stop, a report said.
The stop is almost ready on the Bahraini side of the border and the King Fahad Causeway is expected to extend its hours, allowing more vehicles to cross from Bahrain every day, according to a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
Works Ministry road planning and designing director Kadhim Abdullatif said the new truck stop in Jasra was almost ready, while the private sector has been told a new shift system at the causeway that would help speed up the crossing was in the process of being introduced.
"Once the land opens up for the trucks, the situation at the moment should improve a lot," said Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) acting chief executive Nabeel Al Mahmood. "The problems we have currently should cease."
He said Customs Affairs president Shaikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Khalifa had outlined plans for a new causeway shift system during a recent meeting. The new system and the truck stop are expected to come online at the same time.
"Shaikh Mohammed spoke about having three shifts for trucks," Al Mahmood told the GDN.
"One would be for trucks that are full, one for trucks that have light loads and one for empty trucks.
"Creating these shifts will increase working hours and make the inspection faster, which would speed up the whole process. The combination of these shifts and the truck stop would mean that it's likely to improve.
"We're looking forward to seeing what will happen when the changes come into place."
Abdullatif revealed the truck stop would have been ready sooner if resurfacing had not been delayed by water and electricity installation.
The plot, which measures approximately 20,000 sq m, will accommodate 120 trucks and include offices for all relevant government bodies.
It is a joint venture between the Finance Ministry, Works Ministry, Electricity and Water Authority (EWA), Interior Ministry and Customs.
"The land is in quite an old area and the electricity and water need to be updated," explained Abdullatif.
"Once EWA's work is complete, we'll be able to start resurfacing immediately. We estimate that it'll take about 10 days - and then we'll just have to finish up road markings."
He added that trucks would be able to start using the stop within days of its completion.
Land in Jasra was earmarked for the truck stop after consistent complaints about delays at the border, as well as accidents caused by massive tailbacks on the Shaikh Isa bin Salman Highway that leads to the King Fahad Causeway.
Transport chiefs previously told the GDN the situation was so bad that trucks were waiting from five to 14 days to cross the border to Saudi Arabia. They said business was being negatively affected, while drivers were subjected to inhumane conditions while they waited. – TradeArabia News Service