Transport firms 'causing causeway delays'
Manama, April 17, 2014
Transport companies have been blamed for compounding truck delays at King Fahad Causeway.
Customs President Shaikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Khalifa said they often reserved space in advance for their trucks to enter Saudi Arabia, but not all of them showed up, reported the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
He said this meant delays for other operators, who could have taken those slots at the border.
"If they book for 20 trucks then only 10 turn up and what they are doing is depriving the opportunity for other trucks to complete the inspection and customs process," Shaikh Mohammed told the GDN on the sidelines of the second joint conference by the International Civil Aviation Organisation and the World Customs Organsiation in Bahrain yesterday.
"Why can't they be definite in reserving space as this will help others?"
Trucks carry consignments from Bahrain to Saudi Arabia and on to the UAE, Kuwait and neighbouring countries.
However, transport companies have long complained about delays that have resulted in massive tailbacks - sometimes lasting several days.
Shaikh Mohammed said talks were ongoing to solve the problem between the country's leaders, the private sector and the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
However, he added that the situation becomes more complex when loaded trucks start queuing up when Saudi border officials have already completed their shift.
"They just fill their trucks and go to Saudi Arabia without realising that the officials there work only one shift, which ends between 2pm and 3pm," he said.
"After this period there is no official to inspect these trucks, which results in the unnecessary delays."
An "e-linking" system has now been launched between Bahraini Customs and Saudi officials to ease traffic flow on the causeway.
"We have now eased the traffic flow by e-linking Bahrain's Customs with our counterparts in Saudi Arabia," he said.
"For example, details of a car - like its colour and registration - are now automatically transferred electronically from the Bahrain Customs to Saudi officials."
Shaikh Mohammed said through real time sharing of information, Saudi Customs officials are informed in advance of vehicles entering their country from Bahrain. - TradeArabia News Service