New ticketing system for causeway truckers
Manama, December 31, 2012
A strict ticketing system will be introduced tomorrow at the King Fahad Causeway to end the chaos of truckers crossing into Saudi Arabia from Bahrain, said a transport company official.
"Trucks that are transporting locally-manufactured materials will be third in line followed by everything else," he was quoted as saying by our sister publication, the Gulf Daily News (GDN).
Trucks carrying food items and perishables will be given top priority to cross over, followed by those carrying mail and courier, he added.
"This ticketing system will be implemented strictly and there will be no discrepancies. We have also been assured that a fool-proof system will soon be in place - which will ensure no truck with an appointment is turned back, he noted.
The official, who could not be named, was present at a closed-door meeting on Thursday with officials from the Customs Directorate, General Directorate of Traffic, Industry and Commerce Ministry, traders, manufacturers and exporters.
The ongoing crisis - created by scores of parked trucks queuing up on the Isa bin Salman Highway waiting to cross into Saudi Arabia - had resulted in access to several residential compounds in the Jasra and Janabiya areas getting blocked.
Truckers had blamed the slow clearing process on Saudi Customs' side and a lack of space at the crossing on the causeway.
Authorities earlier stepped in to resolve the issue by establishing a scheme, whereby trucks would cross the border daily through fixed appointments.
However, transport companies said the problem had resurfaced and the scheme was creating further delays.
The official said the meeting also discussed issues concerning the flow of traffic, the repeated traffic bottlenecks on the Isa bin Salman Highway leading up to the causeway and the inconvenience faced by motorists, residents and others.
"We are hopeful this new system will work," he said. "We do not mind the waiting, but what we want is a system that works."
He said several promises made in the past had been broken or failed. "We have been given assurances in the past, but all we get is a few days of relief," he added.
Earlier, Bahrain's main transport companies claimed they had been sidelined by authorities as the chaos of trucks crossing into Saudi Arabia continued.
They said the new appointment system created to streamline trucks crossing the causeway had worked effectively for a few days, but now they were back at square one.
The GDN first wrote about the trucks' issue following complaints from Bahrain's contractors in January 2008.
The problem has been continuing since then, though it was temporarily solved a number of times. – TradeArabia News Service