Bahrain thwarts major smuggling ops
Manama, August 26, 2012
Bahrain’s customs authorities foiled 350 smuggling operations and seized close to 5kg of illegal narcotics last year, said a senior government official.
A total of 4.8 kg of drugs, including 46,036 pills, were confiscated by border patrols, Clearance and Customs Inspection director-general Shaikh Nasser bin Abdulrahman Al Khalifa revealed in the Interior Ministry's internal magazine Al Amn (Security).
"Bahrain Customs foiled 350 smuggling operations last year," he said. "Officers seized more than 4.8kg of drugs and 46,036 narcotic pills."
He said checks had been intensified at all entry and exit points using state-of-the-art technology, while staff training had focused on streamlining official procedures.
Shaikh Nasser also revealed that Customs Affairs was moving ahead with its ambitious Horizon project, which is described as an advanced automated one-stop clearance system.
"In addition, the Bahrain Customs Affairs is co-operating with the King Fahad Causeway Authority to solve the issue of traffic congestion and facilitate movement of people and goods to and from Bahrain using the electronic system Horizon," he said.
He explained the automated system would save time and effort by allowing individual travellers and transport firms to pay fees in advance online.
The official said 500 employees had been trained in the automated system.
Shaikh Nasser also revealed that Bahraini Customs authorities were working with their Saudi counterparts to allocate parking spaces for trucks held up at the King Fahad Causeway.
It follows complaints from truck owners over delays in loading goods and long queues.
Last November, hundreds of trucks had to wait for over four days to cross the King Fahad Causeway to enter Saudi Arabia.
Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) members blamed Saudi customs for unnecessary delay and the backlog was only solved after Bahraini authorities held talks with their Saudi counterparts to increase the working hours of causeway staff.
More than 550,000 trucks are estimated to use the causeway every year, higher than the capacity of the bridge.
Meanwhile, Shaikh Nasser described the BD103 million collected by Customs Affairs in revenues last year as "remarkable considering the unrest in February and March". – TradeArabia News Service