Kuwait is facing a new crisis due to the accumulation of thousands of tons of food products, goods, vegetables and fruits in ports and customs. This is due to the difficulty of shipping and unloading companies to obtain permits for their workers to transport goods during the period of the total curfew.
The decision to impose the lockdown from May 10 to May 31 to stop the spread of the coronavirus led to a situation of great confusion for ports and shipping, freight and unloading companies. Customs clearance procedures were halted, as was the transport of goods to cooperative societies, central markets and stores.
A Kuwaiti government source told Al-Arabi Al-Jadeed that the Kuwaiti Ports Corporation is committed to facilitating the work of freight and unloading companies, but it is not responsible for the crisis caused by the accumulation of goods and products on the docks of ports, pointing out that the granting of permits to workers is carried out through the Kuwaiti Ministry of Interior.
The source, who declined to be named, added that the Kuwaiti Ports Authority will not be able to receive new ships before unloading the goods left in warehouses and sidewalks, noting that the shipping and unloading companies have been operating at half capacity during the period of the partial curfew, and after the imposition of the total lockdown, their work stopped completely. Kuwait covers about 93% of its food needs with imports and agricultural products from abroad, while farms provide only about 7% of vegetables and fruits.
The Deputy Chairman of the Federation of Cooperative Societies in Kuwait, Khaled Al-Hudhaiban, told Al-Arabi Al-Jadeed that the stock of basic commodities is still sufficient for now, but in the event of continued high demand for goods and products for storage, we may witness a food crisis. He is therefore calling on the Kuwaiti Ministry of Interior to be flexible and facilitate the tasks of the shipping companies.