Pilot program at Jordanian border to boost Palestinian economy

'I am delighted to pronounce that shipment of goods in containers will start at the border with Jordan,' the European Union Representative, Sven Kühn von Burgsdorff, said.

Trucks wait at the King Hussein border crossing (Allenby Bridge) to cross to Jordan, July 21. (photo credit: MATANYA TAUSIG/FLASH90)
Trucks wait at the King Hussein border crossing (Allenby Bridge) to cross to Jordan, July 21.
(photo credit: MATANYA TAUSIG/FLASH90)

A three-month pilot program to use containers for the shipment of goods between Jordan and the West Bank will start at the Allenby crossing in January, with an eye to boosting the flagging Palestinian economy.

“I am delighted to pronounce that shipment of goods in containers will start at the border with Jordan,” European Union representative Sven Kühn von Burgsdorff said.

“Allowing containers’ shipment will help Palestinian business and make it easier for traders and consumers to receive the goods faster and in better conditions,” he explained.

The European Union on Thursday held a meeting on the project at the IDF controlled Allenby crossing that borders the West Bank and Jordan. It included Israeli and Palestinian officials as well as Palestinian businessmen.

Among those who attended Thursday’s meeting were representatives from the Palestinian Authority (PA) ministries of National Economy, Civil Affairs, General Administration of Borders and Crossings, Investment Promotion and Industrial Estates Agency, as well as the Israeli Airports Authority, Israel Tax Authority and the IDF’s Civil Administration.

EU representative Sven Kühn von Burgsdorff tours Givat Hamatos in east Jerusalem (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)EU representative Sven Kühn von Burgsdorff tours Givat Hamatos in east Jerusalem (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

The pilot program is open to all Palestinian companies, of which some 15 have already shown an interest.

The Allenby crossing allows for Jordanian and Palestinian trucks to transfer goods through back-to-back pallet system.

The pilot program will replace those pallets with containers that will be more efficient and reduce incidents of damage, thereby reducing costs. The new streamlined process will allow for an expansion of the volume of trade and improve the competitive ability of Palestinian businesses, the EU said, adding that it could also lead to the creation of more jobs.

“I very much hope that such measures can be expanded as they will not only facilitate cross-border trade but also contribute to building trust between the parties,” Burgsdoff said. “Trust and mutually beneficial outcomes are essential for our joint efforts towards prosperity and peace.”

PA National Economy Minister Khaled Osaily said, “This pilot will contribute to enhancing the competitiveness of Palestinian products. Shipment with containers will have a significant positive impact on Palestinian private sector by reducing the transaction cost compared to the currently used mechanism.”

The move is one of a number of initiatives that Israel, the EU and the international community have taken to help prevent the collapse of the Palestinian economy.