Trailers transporting containers from the Doha Port to importers’ warehousing facilities have almost doubled their rates with market sources fearing the development might have a spillover effect on the prices of foodstuff and other commodities of daily use.
A trailer used to charge between QR350 and QR450 until quite recently to carry a container from the Doha Port to a warehouse on the outskirts of
the city. The rates have almost doubled and now vary between an incredible QR700 and QR1,500 as a trailer has to wait for up to three days to load a container.
The unexpectedly longer waiting time taken is due to delays by customs officials in inspecting and clearing a container, a local Arabic daily reported yesterday, quoting unnamed sources.
It takes almost a day for a trailer to traverse the distance between the entrance of the Doha Port and the customs clearance areas inside, the report said.
So slow are the customs clearance procedures at the port that another two days are taken by the trailer to load the container. Hence, three days pass in the process. Earlier, the entire process took no more than a few hours, so trailers were able to do more business. But now that it takes days for a trailer in picking just one container, they have raised their rates exorbitantly, the report said.
On top of it, not many trailers are now willing to transport containers due to the hassles involved. However, despite soaring rates, importers are literally making a beeline to hire trailers because the port authorities begin charging QR250 per container if it is not cleared within five to 10 days after arrival at the port.
The duration allowed (five to 10 days) for free storage of a container at the port depends on the type of goods it contains, said the report. So importers prefer to get a container picked from the port than wait and pay for its storage there. “That explains why despite soaring transport costs, importers are desperately looking for trailers,” the report said quoting an unnamed source.
But observers say they fear the importers might eventually pass on the burden to retailers who would be left with no option but to raise the prices of goods making the end-user suffer.
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