Bahrain's new port to open in March
Manama, December 3, 2008
The Bahrain Gateway, at Khalifa Bin Salman Port in Hidd, is expected to be officially launched in March next year.
APM Terminals Bahrain, which has been awarded the contract to run the new port, has invested $62 million in land facilities, including state-of-the-art equipment, said managing director Steen Davidsen.
"Even after the operational launch in Hidd, it may take some time for transferring cargo from Mina Salman to the new facility," he told the Press and shipping agents at the General Organisation of Sea Ports headquarters in Hidd, after they were taken on a tour of the new port.
"We shall, therefore, run both ports simultaneously on a temporary basis."
The new port will have a capacity of 1.1m TEU (twenty-foot equivalent unit), which is three times the capacity at Mina Salman, said Davidsen.
The total area is 900,000 sq m, and the quay depth is 15 metres.
The biggest attraction at the new port is four Post Panamax cranes of 61 metres.
Davidsen revealed that APM Terminals Bahrain has already recruited 625 people, of whom 84 per cent are Bahrainis.
"Sixty four per cent of managers in the operations department are now Bahrainis," he said.
The port aims to position itself as the hub for upper Middle East Gulf cargoes, said general manager - sales and marketing Iain Rawlinson.
"The launch of the neighbouring Bahrain Logistics Zone in July has started attracting customers," he said.
"With zero tax, goods can be imported and re-exported without duties and 100pc foreign ownership is permitted," said Rawlinson.
"On completion, the zone will offer space totalling 475,000 sq m. With proximity to the causeway linking Bahrain to Saudi Arabia, the zone will pitch itself as a multi-model hub for the region."
An important aspect of the move to Bahrain Gateway will be ensuring that the new container handling processes are understood by all port users, said Rawlinson.
"We shall continue to operate in a manner in which safety takes precedence over all other concerns," he said.
APM Terminals commercial analyst Yusuf Bin Sanad said the world-class port operations and standards would also help give confidence to local and international customers, to further induce industrial investment.
"APM Terminals is proud of the achievements it has made, and can only be more optimistic about further improvements once operations move to Bahrain Gateway," he said. - TradeArabia News Service
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