Jeddah port crisis worsens; transport fees rise 200%

Jeddah port crisis worsens; transport fees rise 200%
Updated 28 June 2013

Jeddah port crisis worsens; transport fees rise 200%

Jeddah port crisis worsens; transport fees rise 200%

The Jeddah Islamic Port is faced with a crisis of sorts, with container transportation cost rising by as much as 200 percent, thanks mainly to the limited entry and exit points at the port.
Transporters complain that the waiting time at the port to move containers had gone up to 15 hours resulting in costs going up from SR 700 to SR 1,200 which at times even touches even SR 2,000.
“We have to wait from 9 a.m. till midnight sometimes waiting for our turn, and this has sent the transportation costs spiraling,” they point out.
While the port authorities were not available for comment on the issue, Saed Al-Bassami, vice president of the National Transportation Committee at the Saudi Council of Chambers and Industry, said the long waiting hours and the consequent price rise in transportation are matters to be addressed by the port authorities.
“The delay in moving goods from Jeddah Port is mainly an organizational matter. There has to be a centralized system in place with better coordination between all departments to ensure smooth function, as is being done at other ports,” he said, pointing out that this was the peak season for port operations.
Saudi port authorities are looking into the matter and are considering several solutions including increasing the number of gates to facilitate free flow of trucks to enter the port from the beach storage area without having to pass through the city center, which is important since trucks are banned from passing through the center of Jeddah during peak hours.
Ibrahim Al-Iqeili, head of the Customs Clearance Committee at the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, told local media that consumers were at the receiving end on account of the crisis.
“Increasing transportation cost does not really solve the problem since the additional costs are passed on to the consumers by the importers. Eventually, it is the consumers who pay a higher price for imported goods,” he said, and pointed out that the limited number of entry and exit points was one of the major factors which contributed to high costs.
Several meetings have been held with port officials and the Customs Department at the Jeddah Islamic Port and efforts are on to come up with solutions.
Port workers have pointed out that the administration had issued instructions preventing trucks from entering the port from side roads resulting in the problem getting compounded.
The director of Saudi Port Authority had a meeting with sailors and customs clearance agents and has promised to reopen the roads. The administration had indeed opened the roads but later closed it down.
Authorities said the opening of the road next to Jeddah Islamic Port will be of great help and if additional entry and exit points are also added, it would solve the problem.