Dubai: At 2:45pm on Monday, there were at total of 4,000 trucks in the lineup waiting to cross from the UAE to Saudi Arabia.
And the line stretched back 18km to Al Sila. Truck drivers may have to wait as much as six days to be allowed to cross the border.
It was estimated to be taking three days to clear the two truck compounds on the UAE side, and even if a driver's paperwork was in order it was taking taking a day for the Saudis to process it.
One truck driver, Bangladeshi Abdul Rasheed, said he was carrying a load of lubricants to Qatar.
Early Monday afternoon he'd been waiting at the Saudi border for three days.
He's getting paid a Dh300 flat fee for the round trip — regardless of the time it takes.
The delay at the border has been blamed on slow processing by Saudi Arabian border officials at the UAE border.
The delays have been happening regularly for the past six weeks and on Sunday night, the tailback from the border toward stretched for 9km towards Al Sila.
During the weekend, the queue had stretched for 20km, with some 4,000 trucks delayed.
While normal processing happens in 24 to 36 hours, the delays in recent weeks have been as long as four days, causing hardship for drivers and spoiling some loads of fresh fruit and vegetables.
Only crossing on the Arabian Gulf coast
The crossing is the only one on the Arabian Gulf coast and the route is a key trading link between the UAE and its neighbours in the region.
An official at the UAE border crossing told Gulf News on Sunday night said that between 800 and 1,000 trucks normally cross the border each day. He said he was unsure of the number of trucks waiting in the 9km queue.
"Thank God there is a flow in their movement," he said. "Things are OK. It's 9km from Al Ghuwaifat. Two days earlier, it was 20km."
Wassim Assaf, a partner and manager at Trans Borders trucking company in Dubai said that the situation at the border "is very difficult."
"The queue is regularly 30km long and this has been going on the for past six weeks," he said from his office in International city.