The Customs Affairs Directorate began to enforce from November 18 the rules imposing fines on customs clearing agents who unnecessarily delay clearing their products for more than four hours on King Fahad Causeway. The rules requires them to pay BD50 fine divided among their customs clearance office, the businessman and the transporter. The Customs Affairs has also asked the Customs Clearing Agents Society to deal with the issue. The decision was part of the directives of a committee assigned to study the situation on the Causeway, ensure all facilities and prevent traffic jams by regulating the customs clearance.
The committee came up with various solutions. These mainly involved the cancellation of the practice of issuing coupons by Customs Affairs, reduction in the waiting period of trucks for clearance from 10 to three hours, immediate clearance of tax-free products from GCC countries, and the implementation of the Minister of Interior's directives to enforce customs rules and laws.
The customs clearing agents’ offices have been told that if fined, they have the right to challenge or appeal the decision within 15 days. But if they do not pay the fine, legal action will be taken against them, including suspension of the particular clearing agent’s account in the e-system. Since the beginning of the implementation of the decision 32 accounts have been suspended. The Customs Affairs has implemented Circular 110 of 2014 issued on 16 July 2014 that calls for the production of a customs statement within four hours of the arrival of a truck to finalise customs procedures.
In accordance with the directives of Customs President Shaikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Khalifa and the meeting of the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry on 17 September 2014, all previous fines were cancelled after the society pledged not to repeat such violations. In the last two months 150 customs violations were registered. The Customs Affairs welcomed views and suggestions to promote and attract investments without violating the law.