Yemen is a growing market for used tires [Archives:2008/1123/Local News]

January 24 2008

By: Almigdad Dahesh Mojalli
SANA'A, Jan. 20 ) A growing market for used tires is developing in Yemen and this is cause for concern because driving on used tires is considered the primary cause of vehicular accidents in Yemen. According to the most recent government statistics, there were 10,439 car accidents in Yemen in 2007, claiming 2,892 lives.

According to tire and repair shop owner Fuad Ali, “Based on my experience, used tires are sold and used more than new ones. I think this is because most people are poor and prefer buying the cheaper tires.”

According to him, the price difference can be as much as YR 13,000. “We sell new tires for between YR 20,000 and YR 23,000, whereas we sell used ones for YR 6,000 to YR 8,000.”

Most used tires enter Yemen via illegal import, as Abu Al-Hassan Al-Nihari, manager of quality administration in Standardization and Measurement Authority, explains, “We ban the import of used tires because they're unsafe both to the environment as well as people. Therefore, we monitor the market and confiscate any quantities found.”

There are two ways to obtain used tires: import them from Dubai or get them from large companies, embassies and the rich. As Ali explains, “There's a company that imports used tires from Dubai and then distributes them to tire exchange shops here. We also get such tires from embassies and rich people, who change their tires while they're still useful.

They sell them to us for a little money and then we sell them to our customers, thereby reaping the benefits.”

Saleh Ahmed, an employee with the General Traffic Administration, notes that used tires have a flat or “bald” surface, whereas they should be deeply ridged; thus, when the driver attempts to brake, the car either doesn't stop or it slides off the road, causing an accident. He adds that tires must have some specifications, such as regarding their thickness, which differs from one tire to another. For example, the tread of tires for large trucks must be between 30-40 millimeters, while those for other cars must be between 20-25 millimeters.