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USAID West Bank & Gaza
27 September 2005
American government investment will ease border crossings
GAZA-WEST BANK –
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has approved an investment of several millions of dollars in advanced vehicular scanning technology and streamlined customs procedures to be implemented at four crossing points between Israel and Gaza.
This multi-million dollar contribution will permit the Palestinian Authority and Israeli Ministry of Defense to drastically reduce truck inspection time while enhancing border security.
USAID will provide technical support to the Palestinian Ministries of Economy, Transportation, and Finance through the Palestinian Integrated Trade Arrangement (PITA). PITA is a three year activity designed to boost the security and transit time of Palestinian goods into and out of the West Bank and Gaza.
The break-through trade facilitation program improves the consolidation, routing and inspection of the cargo, as well as the management of the supplies.
Currently, all Palestinian trucks are unloaded for inspection leading to long delays and substantial financial loss due to spoiled produce.
In addition, clear service standards and efficient communication channels will be developed between Palestinian and Israeli customs agencies. Karni, Erez, Sha’ar Efraim and Turquimiya are the first four crossings proposed for this upgrade effort.
New agricultural transit truck lanes will be added at the Karni terminal in the next few months to accelerate passage of cargo to high-value international markets. While Karni currently processes only about 50 truckloads of goods per day, the truck-container scanning technology will permit volumes of 400-600 trucks per day.
Each site will receive a package of inspection equipment, including one relocatable and one mobile scanner. The mobile scanners can be easily moved to other crossings in response to changing traffic volumes. The scanner can inspect a fully-loaded 20 foot container on a truck at maximum penetration in 20 seconds. Imaging analysis may require several minutes but can be distributed among a team of specialists at computer terminals.
USAID has spent more than $1.7 billion to combat poverty, create jobs, improve education, build roads and water systems, construct and equip medical clinics, and promote good governance in the West Bank and Gaza during the last decade.