(NAME – Mid-East.Info)
- In the pilot project, waiting times were reduced from up to four hours to 20 minutes
- News comes after top economist said the new causeway development would boost trade and improve efficiency
A pilot project in which trucks on the King Fahd Causeway between Bahrain and Saudi Arabia were processed with the latest intelligent technology is to be rolled out permanently after trucks were able to cross the bridge 12 times faster than before. The huge gains will boost trade in a year when Bahrain already expects billions of dollars to pour back into the Bahraini economy once the causeway reopens and tourists return.
The pilot has been running since January 2020, and the causeway authority has now signed a MoU with the Saudi Arabian platform provider Tabadul, who will be responsible for extending the program to all freight traffic on both sides of the border. The platform enables drivers to book appointments with the customs authorities in Bahrain and KSA, which makes the crossing process much more efficient and facilitates faster trade between the two kingdoms.
Dr. Commenting on the move, Ali Al-Moulani, President of the Bahrain Economists Society, said: “Trade between Saudi Arabia and Bahrain reached SAR 10.9 billion (US $ 2.9 billion) in 2020 – although the movement of goods was only for the essentials was limited to the essentials for a few months at the height of the pandemic. This latest move by the Causeway Authority will improve exporters’ efficiency and boost trade between the two countries. Manufacturers and exporters will benefit directly from this investment in improved connectivity and advanced digital infrastructure. ‘
This announcement is the latest in a package of transformational decisions to improve the flow of goods between Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. Last year, Bahrain Customs automated data collection and installed AI scanners that could perform shipment inspections before cargo reached the border.
Throughout 2020, Customs also oversaw the expansion of the Authorized Economic Operator program – a MoU between Bahrain and Saudi Arabia that allows AEO companies to process faster – which is benefiting many large multinational companies such as Mondelez and Arla, which Use Bahrain as your regional hub.
The developments on the causeway follow the opening of a new terminal at Bahrain International Airport as well as major investments in technology in the Bahrain Logistics Zone, the Bahrain International Investment Park and the Khalifa Bin Salman port.
There are plans to build a second bridge between Bahrain and KSA, which will provide improved truck capacity as well as the latest technologies to improve export activity and customs processes.
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