Abdali Port Customs struggling after expiry of service contract

Abdali Port Customs struggling after expiry of service contract

KUWAIT CITY, July 13: Amidst extremely difficult circumstances, the General Administration of Customs is exerting every effort to protect the country from the entry of all kinds of prohibited items. However, these efforts may not be sufficient on their own, especially with the expiry and nonrenewal of the contract of the investing company to provide services at the Abdali Customs Port, reports Al-Rai daily. Since the month of May, the company has withdrawn inspection devices for luggage, vehicles, and trucks. It also withdrew handling workers, which has burdened the port inspectors who have come to rely on their intelligence and experience in inspecting luggage and private vehicles.

As for the trucks, it has been agreed with the Ministry of Interior to send them in shifts to Suleibiya customs to perform inspection services. According to customs sources, the Abdali port is Kuwait’s gateway to Europe, from which trucks and vehicles enter and exit throughout the day. Therefore, the presence of modern inspection devices, such as the truck inspection device, is necessary due to its importance and support for the inspectors, especially since they deal with professional smugglers in smuggling routes.

The absence of these devices disrupts the customs system, and leaves a security vacuum that may be exploited by smugglers. The sources indicated that no new tender has been floated so far despite the request sent by the General Administration of Customs several times to the responsible authorities to expedite the provision of inspection equipment and handling workers.

They revealed that the number of inspectors per shift at the port is 40, and they work for 48 consecutive hours in a bad work environment as a result of the lack of adequate housing and in a hot and open atmosphere. The sources said, after the company withdrew handling workers, the role of the customs inspector also includes unloading luggage, manually searching personal vehicles and trucks, and using sniffer dogs, which distracts the inspectors’ efforts between transporting the luggage and inspecting it carefully to prevent the entry of prohibited items.

They stated that the number of private vehicles coming to Kuwait two months ago amounted to 10,944, and those exiting was 11,658, (more than 22,000 cars), in addition to the thousands of trucks that are inspected before being sent to the Sulaibiya port, which reflects the volume of work and the great responsibility that rests on the shoulders of customs officers. The sources affirmed that the burden is heavy on the customs inspectors, with the absence of supportive inspection devices, especially in light of the need for constant vigilance and caution, and the provision of all means to protect the country from the entry of smugglers and contraband.

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