Businesses bemoan ‘unacceptable’ freight delays
Business groups on both sides of the border have expressed their “great dissatisfaction” with the “unacceptable” level of delays to commercial goods being cleared into Gibraltar over the past 12 months.
In a joint statement, the Gibraltar Chamber of Commerce and Apymell - the Association of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises in La Linea – said they had received multiple complaints from businesses on both sides of the border which have experienced frequent and repeated delays caused by Spanish customs officials.
According to both organisations the delays in the clearing of goods are caused by disproportionate checks on goods coming from other parts of the European Union.
“The growth in cargo volumes to Gibraltar has not been met by any proportionate investment in infrastructure or additional resources on the Spanish side of the border,” the joint statement read.
This adds to the delay in the processing and clearing of goods before crossing the border into Gibraltar, they stated adding that the delays add considerable cost to local businesses in Spain and in Gibraltar.
The groups said that the reason for these additional controls has not been explained by the Spanish authorities, although Spain and Gibraltar are both within the European Union.
“We urge the European Commission to examine the issue to ensure that no disproportionate inspection protocols are being imposed,” they said.
“The efficient functioning of the border is fundamental for the economic well-being of the area.”
“Economic relations must predominate and must be preserved over any other circumstance and are fundamental to maintaining the wealth and employment of the area.”
The Chamber and APYMELL said they expect ‘common sense to prevail’ and request that customs controls be conducted in an appropriate manner and at a level which does not damage the commercial interests of businesses on both sides of the border.