The customs delay at the UAE-Saudi border, which left thousands of trucks stranded last week, leading to more than 20km long queue at the Al Ghuwaifat border, is a cause of worry for many logistics firms in Oman. The border is a key trading link between the UAE and its neighbours in the region but is prone to regular delays leading to kilometres long queue of trucks awaiting clearance.
The recent delays at the checkpoint have been a regular feature for the past six weeks but it got worse during the past week, and has left logistics companies in the sultanate worried. The truck queue only started to clear by the weekend.
Kamil Tahir Gani, operations manager, Sun Logistics International, speaking to Muscat Daily said that his company is facing problems because of the delay at Al Ghuwaifat. “We have delayed our transportation because of the recent queue and also there is a shortage of trucks in the market.”
Warrell Silva, transportation manager, CEVA Logistics, said that his company too was affected. “We have offices throughout the region and it is really difficult with delays like this to manage transportation. The delays at this Saudi border post is a regular problem and one that affects businesses of the logistics firms.”
Asked if there was an initiative from Omani authorities to take up the issue with their Saudi counterparts, Gani said that they have taken up the matter with the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. “We have spoken to the authorities about speeding up opening of an alternative border post at Ramlat Khaliya between Oman and Saudi Arabia, which has been planned for long.
The Omani side of the road has been completed long back, the delay has been from the Saudi side. The Omani government must take up the matter with Saudi Arabia. The border will solve many issues, especially of the logistics companies who currently have to go through UAE to reach Saudi.”
Babu Puravankara, country manager, UPS, agreed that passing through UAE-Saudi border has always been difficult for transport companies and it is one of the reasons that many logistics companies in Oman are hesitant in taking up business beyond UAE. “From Oman, we only deal with transportation linked to UAE. So, I cannot say how much it affects us here, but it has been an issue for our offices there and other GCC states.”