Prices of many essential food items, in particular dried stuff, including pulses and grams, have started shooting up in recent weeks in the local market, it is learnt.
Traders attribute the rising prices to the “inordinate delay” in clearing trucks carrying such items at the country’s land border at Abu Samra.
Speaking to Gulf Times yesterday, some of the representatives of foodstuff suppliers said “several trucks carrying foodstuff from across the border are held up for long intervals, mostly between three and eight days and sometimes even more at the border check post.”
In sharp contrast, a goods truck could return to the UAE in three days after unloading the supplies in Kuwait, it is found.
More than 90% of the foodstuffs are believed to be reaching Qatar through Abu Samra from either the UAE or Saudi Arabia.
“Truck operators from Dubai are no longer keen on transporting goods to the country by road owing to the chances of being held up at the Abu Samra border for long periods,” a supplier said.
Local traders said a 15kg bag of Masoor Dal, which used to be supplied at prices between QR50-55 some two months ago now costs at least QR10-15 more. Similarly, at retail groceries Masoor Dal now costs about QR7-7.50 a kilo. A month ago, the maximum retail price was QR6/kilo.
Toor Dal costs about QR9/kilo at retail outlets while it was at least QR1 less a month ago, a supplier said.
Suppliers fear that the retail price may go up further in the months ahead.
Inquiries found that while trucks from Dubai used to levy around QR2,600 plus mandatory border charges for transporting goods to Qatar, they are now demanding between QR4,500 and QR4,750/per journey. “As a result, we are forced to effect hike in the retail rates of most foodstuff,” said a supplier on the Street 38 of the Industrial Area.
Importers point out that they have no option other than depending mainly on Dubai for food imports as there is no facility in Qatar to house large vessels, carrying such goods. They said importing dried foodstuff through air cargo would lead to higher retail prices and hence they are relying mostly on ships coming to Dubai from different import destinations.
Some of the retailers said it is next to impossible presently to procure goods locally as most suppliers are running out of stocks owing to the delay in truck clearance at the land border.
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