By Fatima Muhammad
JEDDAH — Saudi Custom will finalize the new document that specifies new regulations to speed up the process of releasing containers from Saudi ports, Ahmad Al-Haqbani, the acting general manager of the agency, said.
He told Saudi Gazette that “we have tried emoluments for the speedy release of containers both at Jeddah Islamic Port and King Abdullah City Port. We are currently modifying the document after our experience and will start moving on to other ports within two weeks so that up to 80% of containers will be released within 24 hours.”
Al-Haqbani added that their vision is to increase the exports from SR169 billion to SR330 billion and to increase imports from SR660 billion to SR825 billion by 2020. To achieve this goal, they have increased the shifts and employed e-services and trained their employees on the new system.
He also said that they are working on developing the custom department to speed the release of containers particularly that many complaints that come to them are due to delays of procedures. “There are 41 passageway in the Kingdom and up to 40% of the inspections are done manually and we opt to reduce that percentage to 5% only under the condition of preserving security.” He added that they work in cooperation with the Food and Drug Authority and the Saudi Standards, Metrology and Quality Organization to monitor products particularly those used in e-trade which are flourishing in the Kingdom. “We want to make sure that products are safe for end-users and to combat entry of harmful and forged products.
According to Rumaih Al-Rumaih, president of Saudi Railways Company, the Kingdom’s ranked in logistic services has deteriorated in the past few years. He added that the geographical location of the Kingdom makes it capable of leading logistic sector in the Middle East and North Africa. In this regard, he said they have put forward initiatives to enhance infrastructure to pave the way for logistic services. He highlighted that the Haramain Rail will start operating early 2018 and that it is now being tested near Rabig-Madinah road, adding that it faces no obstacles now.
Meanwhile, Nabil Al-Amoudi, chairman of the Saudi Ports Authority, said ports contribute by 70% to the non-oil trade exchange and that at least 12% of the Gulf region trade exchange passes through Saudi Arabia. He said they are working on enhancing the management, maintenance, work efficiency, as well as increasing competition and encouraging the participation of the private sector.
The three officials were speaking at a workshop here at the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry to introduce the plan of transforming Saudi Arabia into a new logistic hub in the region.