Bahrain's first logistics zone targets exporters
Manama, December 6, 2009
Located on one square kilometre of land, 3km from Khalifa Bin Salman Port (KBSP), the Bahrain Logistics Zone (BLZ) is the region's first boutique logistics area designed to accommodate re-export and value-added activities.
The BLZ offers a high-quality environment to companies that meet its stringent tenancy requirements for plots spread across 454,000sqm of leasable space. Operated by the General Organisation of Seaport (GOP) and run on a commercial basis, the BLZ is designed to offer local, regional and international companies a base to operate in a bonded area.
It enables them to take advantage of Bahrain's strategic position to cater to the Northern Gulf market.
While logistics firms are the favoured candidates, the BLZ also welcomes retailers and distributors - such as clothing retailers and auto parts exporters.
Typical favoured logistics activities include component assembly, labelling, packaging, re-packaging, mixing, weighing, filling, kitting, palletising, testing and repair.
Focused on attracting commercial activities that encourage job creation for Bahrainis, foreign investment and volume throughput, the BLZ was launched last year following a feasibility study that was carried out the previous year by management consultancy firm AT Kearney.
It covered developing the BLZ's organisation structure, hiring key team members, building the tenant selection criteria and the subsequent selection of tenants through a book-building exercise.
While the construction of the key infrastructure was underway, Royal Haskoning was appointed to develop and finalise the zone's master plan.
This involved the completion of the definitive layout of the BLZ site, including the plots, roads and location of utilities. The allocation of plots involved setting out their precise location to geographical co-ordinates, dimensions and area.
As part of a fully-fledged marketing campaign, which was implemented last year and included branding, advertising and investment promotion, the BLZ's efforts culminated with the team's participation in a number of successful roadshows and seminars.
Extensive regional and international promotional activities and events were also implemented during the year to attract leading names in the logistics industry.
The final roll of applications totalled 73 firms and an evaluation committee was formed to evaluate the applicants until 20 companies were selected.
The select band that met the criteria to join this world-class project includes Danzas, Ceva, Marina Gulf Trading and Landmark Group, among other leading names. Once the master plan is finalised, the BLZ hands over the lease agreements to all its tenants.
The rapidity with which the plots for Phase 1 have been snapped up shows the appetite for this type of specialist zone among international logistics service providers, who are taking the opportunity of the current world economic downturn to put in place their facilities for future growth in the regional markets.
As a result of the success witnessed last year with the launch of the first phase, the BLZ's management team is planning Phase 2, which is releasing a further 1.5 sqkm of space.
Situated within a few minutes by road from KBSP, which can accommodate ocean-going container ships, the new logistics location represents a unique opportunity for companies to access GCC markets more quickly and economically than from other regional centres.
After the BLZ's first year of preparation and operational structuring, the GOP is looking forward to leveraging the opportunities to serve prospective tenants by building a full suite of tenant services and facilities to create an entity that will produce positive benefits for Bahrain.-TradeArabia News Service