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Customs system to cut wait at UAE-Saudi Arabia border

A streamlined customs procedure for vehicles crossing the Saudi border should cut waiting times from several days to just a few hours.

DUBAI// A streamlined customs procedure for vehicles crossing the Saudi border should cut waiting times from several days to just a few hours.

It will allow lorries to be checked and sealed as they set off on their journey instead of at the border.

Each of the 700,000 lorries that travels to Saudi Arabia is X-rayed and opened for inspection.

In April, slow processing of papers by Saudi border officials was blamed for severe delays that led to tailbacks, with about 4,000 lorries stretching for up to 20 kilometres.

The new system, which should be in place within six months, means UAE customs officials will check the goods and place an internationally recognised seal on the container. This can only be broken at the final destination.

Tickets will be issued for trips, called TIR Carnets, which are recognised in 68 countries, said Mohammed Bin Sulayem, president of the Automobile and Touring Club UAE. "Even if a truck goes from here to Iraq, these are the only documents accepted," he said. "The same goes for Turkey, Iran, or Europe."

A similar tickets will be available for tourists, a Carnet de Passage en Douane (CPD).

"Many UAE travellers carrying unofficial CPDs have been refused entry to countries like Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Egypt," Mr bin Sulayen said.

eharnan@thenational.ae

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