DOHA: Though the lifting of sanctions and the reopening of borders with Saudi Arabia and the UAE has been welcomed with enthusiasm in Qatar, cargo movement into the country from the two countries via the Abu Samra border will be affected due to Covid-19 precautionary measures, local businessmen told The Doha Globe.
The Government Communications Office (GCO) has said that all arrivals to Qatar from the Abu Samra border crossing are required to undergo a Covid-19 test and obtain a virus-free certificate no more than 72 hours before travel.
Also, all arrivals will be subject to hotel quarantine for one week. The hotel accommodation is to be booked through the `Discover Qatar’ website prior to arrival.
Sources said that truck drivers and assistants arriving in Qatar from Saudi Arabia would have to go for hotel quarantine, which would not only jack up costs, but also create logistical difficulties.
At the same time, traders will be able to import materials through shipping.
“We were planning to bring some items from Dubai but were informed by our cargo agents that a delay is likely due to Covid-19 protocols,” Hamza Mammu, Managing Director of Marwa Water, told The Doha Globe. “We are still happy because we can use shipping and purchase directly from Dubai,” he added.
The hotel quarantine requirement will also make bringing cargo via road financially unviable. “We will have to spend around QR2,000 on a driver for his hotel quarantine and the same amount for his assistant in the case of a trailer, which will make the dealing financially unviable. So, we have no option but to wait for Covid-19 to go or wait until it’s under control for road trade to resume,” a source said.
The need for Covid-19 tests and other protocols will create hurdles in the smooth flow of cargo, they said.
Traders on either side are waiting enthusiastically to restart their business after a gap of three-and-a-half years.