Jordanian truck drivers have lost approximately JD600 million over the past five years due to the closure of borders with Iraq and Syria, the Jordanian Truck Owners Association said.
The association’s president, Mohammad al Dawood, said overland journeys by truck drivers have plummeted by 80 percent since the border closures, which have forced merchants to ship their goods by more expensive sea routes instead.
Due to the ongoing instability in neighboring Iraq and Syria that have served as corridors for Jordanian goods into other countries for decades, Jordan’s exports have greatly dwindled. Official figures reveal that in 2015 Jordan’s exports to Iraq dropped to $690 million from $1.16 billion the previous year.
Al Dawood warned that investors’ inability to export their goods through affordable routes has forced some to pack their bags and move to new markets. He called on the government to find alternative markets for Jordanian goods, and for better oversight of the sector.
“What our sector needs is to be better regulated. Some trucks carry out several trips [a year] while others don’t get to travel at all. Some also need visas to enter certain markets. The Ministry of Transport can help with all these,” al Dawood said, adding that the association is in talks with the government to find solutions for the sector’s 17,000 trucks and JD1.5 billion investments.
Currently Jordanian truckers have access to Saudi Arabia, which they use to carry goods into the kingdom or to transit through to Kuwait where the merchandise is shipped to Iraq’s Basra port. Some trucks are also shipped into Egypt where they then continue on their way across the country, while others go to the Port of Haifa to unload their goods.
After recapturing the Trebil border crossing with Jordan this summer from ISIS, the Iraqi forces said they were trying to secure the road and reopen the crossing for trade. It is not clear though when that will happen and al Dawood stressed that trucks will not be making their way into Iraq unless the road is 100 percent secured.