Saudi Arabian customs is one of the slowest and least flexible institutions I have ever dealt with. My lab group has a critical order sitting in Jeddah for five weeks - we have called to check on the paperwork and asked how long it will take to clear numerous times. Last week, I got this email:
I have been informed that the authorization for the release of the shipment from customs has been delayed. Our customs agents are required to submit more paperwork and the delay will be at least 2 weeks.
I will check again at the end of the week and update you.
Our case is not unique. The King has invested so much money and effort into this project, but stone-wall bureaucracy in the customs office continues to frustrate us all by stifling research. Major reforms are needed even in government customs offices, for KAUST's research mission to thrive. I hope they don't kill us with paperwork before that reform comes.