A view of the spiral minaret at the mosque of the Abdullah bin Zaid Al Mahmoud Islamic Cultural Centre (Fanar) in Qatar's capital Doha. Saudi Arabia has opened an expanded border crossing with Qatar. Image Credit: AFP

Cairo: Saudi Arabia has opened an expanded border crossing with Qatar, the sole land link between the two countries, expected to increase passenger traffic and trade exchange.

The capacity of the New Salwa Crossing has increased by around four times and is anticipated to witness a robust traffic ahead of this year’s Fifa World Cup in Qatar due to kick off in November, Saudi media reported.

The facility started trial operation of its passenger section on Monday with arrival capacity estimated at 12,096 cars per day against 1,867 in the past, Saudi television Al Ekhbariya reported.

The crossing is now able to handle departure 12,776 departure cars per day against 1,896 previously, the report added.

Governor of the Eastern Province Prince Saud bin Nayaf, who attended the inaugural ceremony, said the New Salwa Crossing would help bolster the passenger traffic and economic links between Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

He added that the facility would be ready for full operation before the onset of the World Cup.

The Saudi Zakat, Tax and Customs Authority, meanwhile, said it and its affiliates had started providing their services at the crossing following its opening for trial operation.