Frequent and random checkpoints from local authorities and barriers that physically halt the flow of people and goods contribute to the battles of Yemen’s “Yemen conflict.” Hardly a day goes by without shipments of goods being looted or intercepted by rogue forces, injury or even death to transport workers. As a result of the poor infrastructure on main highways, many truckers use less travelled and less monitored routes. Armed groups regularly extort truckers traveling on less-travelled, alternate routes because these routes have less security forces on them and drivers are less familiar with the roads. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, supported by the coalition, imposes restrictions and limits on the transportation of goods and commodities to Yemen such as the inspection process that prolongs the amount of time for imports to clear Yemeni ports , presenting an additional layer of challenges. These restrictions have been in place since the beginning of the war in 2015.
The rising cost of human and material losses is worsening the humanitarian and economic crises within Yemen. In general, the cost of commodities, food, and essential items are rising as a result of external global factors such as the Ukrainian war. Yemen’s existing transportation challenges are accelerating these price hikes faster than elsewhere and are a significant factor in Yemen’s overall rising costs. Transportation costs in Yemen today are five times more expensive than their pre-war rates.
The international coalition is upholding tough importing restrictions with a protracted inspection process that prolongs the amount of time for imports to clear Yemeni ports. Transport ships carrying imports headed to Yemen must pass through foreign ports to be inspected by coalition officials. Companies and exporters are forced to ship their goods to ports in Saudi Arabia, Djibouti, and Oman, undergo a lengthy inspection process, and then from there they are allowed to ship the goods to Yemeni ports. The combined cost of the extra leg of the trip to the inspection ports, and the long wait times for goods to be inspected, add undue costs to the goods. Yemeni importers and consumers are ultimately bearing the burden of these costs. Even with a lengthy inspection process, many goods considered dual use are completely prohibited from entering Yemen.
The Economic Reform Team (ERT) has identified transportation policies that will enable legitimate commercial activity as a top priority for alleviating many of the economic and humanitarian consequences of the conflict. Obstacles to transporting goods to market are among the most prominent challenges faced by Yemeni businesses, and in turn their consumers and the public at large. It is increasingly difficult for the private sector to maintain a consistent supply of goods and essential items under these conditions as the war rages on.
This initiative seeks to analyze Yemen’s transportation challenges and propose solutions to address their root causes. The ERT aims to facilitate the consistent delivery of goods and products to the Yemeni people and reduce costs. In a country where 80% of the population currently lives below the poverty line, the ERT advocates for measures and solutions that help alleviate the rising costs of transportation. Many of the causes are entirely avoidable, and in this initiative, the ERT will provide insights on how to remedy the ongoing problems