Bahrain's maritime credentials 'world-class'
London, September 29, 2010
Bahrain's maritime credentials are world-class. This strong message was delivered at a General Organisation of Seaports (GOP)-hosted event at the InterContinental Mayfair Hotel, London.
GOP chairman Shaikh Daij bin Salman Al Khalifa and Bahrain's Ambassador to the UK Shaikh Khalifa bin Ali Al Khalifa laid out the increasingly exciting business proposition that is Bahrain under the banner of 'Bahrain Gateway - Opening the way to Billion Dollar Opportunities'.
They highlighted the world-class facilities at the new Khalifa Bin Salman Port (KBSP) and its Bahrain Logistics Zone (BLZ).
The event was attended by 60 high-level dignitaries, including Baroness Symmons of Vernham Dean, UKTI International Division director Nicholas Armour, Bahrain British Council chairman Khalid Al Zayani and Bristol Port Company chief executive Simon Bird.
'We look forward to Britain and Bahrain working together and developing a gateway that is of benefit to both our countries,' Armour said.
Held in co-operation with the UKTI and the Society of Maritime Engineers, the Bahrain Gateway briefing offered unique insight into the GCC's trillion dollar market and promoted the kingdom's logistics and maritime developments, exploring opportunities and co-operation between both countries.
'This dialogue and exchange of expertise between our two countries is not new, but is another step in what I am confident will be a long-lasting and fruitful partnership,' Shaikh Khalifa said. 'The Bahrain Embassy in London is here to facilitate this co-operation and I personally extend an invitation to each of you to use the embassy as your gateway to Bahrain.
'We adopt a policy of openness and transparency, with a view to achieving impact and benefiting our stakeholders and partners. This is really what makes Bahrain the pearl of the Gulf,' he added.
Shaikh Daij, recognising the importance of the maritime industry in Bahrain's economic growth strategy, said: 'I believe that the future outlook for the global shipping and maritime industries is very encouraging and there is a renewed optimism in most segments of this vital sector.
'Already a number of shipping lines and port operators have reported improved business volumes and profits for the first half of this year and I have no doubt that this trend will continue and better times are ahead for the entire maritime industry.
'My own optimism is supported by the outlook and prospects for Asry and GOP. The KBSP is supported by a fully -developed maritime industry,' he said.
During his speech, Shaikh Daij stressed the key components of Economic Vision 2030, including the creation of a world-class infrastructure that links Bahrain to the regional and global economy - with fully integrated links by road, sea and air to the regional and global markets.
Bahrain has lots of good news stories to tell the maritime industry, Shaikh Daij added.
'Asry has a long-standing presence in the UK through its subsidiary company, Asry Marketing Services and at Asry we are looking to the future with the current implementation of a $188 million facility expansion programme.
'Asry can continue to offer shipowners and other global customers, including the offshore oil and gas industries, the very best in repair and maintenance services.
'Currently, Asry is proud to be working in close co-operation with the UK's A&P Group, on the through-life support of a number of vessels from the flotilla of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary.
'Being selected as the 'repair yard of choice' in the region for these technically demanding and sophisticated vessels is a major endorsement of Asry and the capabilities of its multi-national workforce,' he said.
Baroness Symmons paid tribute to Bahrain's initiative to promote such outstanding opportunities.
'Bahrain's unique position is the educated population which is in itself a talent to export in addition to its excellent infrastructure,' she said.
The briefing's programme included a plenary session on 'The Billion Dollar Market Opportunities' moderated by Bird.
The panellists in the session included GOP marketing and communications director Maysoon Sabkar, who spoke about GOP's strategy for building a sustainable maritime industry.
'Educating the next generation of maritimers is a priority for all seafaring countries and in Bahrain we are working to educate the next generation - men and women,' she added.
APM Terminals Bahrain chief commercial officer Iain Rawlinson spoke about KBSP's capabilities and Economic Development Board business development manager for Europe Robert Edge gave an overview about the kingdom's business environment. BLZ business development head Bassam Ali Ameen emphasised the benefits of the facility.
As part of the road show, the GOP delegation also attended one of the most prominent global maritime industry accolades - the Lloyd's List Global Awards.
The event was co-sponsored by the GOP and the Asry, promoting Bahrain's growing reputation as an active player in the maritime and shipping industries, with a long-term view to contributing to the kingdom's non-oil economic growth and diversity.
The ceremony, in Dorchester, London, provided a unique forum for all sectors of the maritime industry and its leading players to honour excellence and outstanding achievements in the shipping and maritime industries.
The road show was part of the GOP's continuous activities to promote Bahrain's maritime and logistics industries to facilitate investments into the kingdom from targeted countries. The London visit is the third of several international tours the GOP has completed, including its Japan and Germany road shows in February and June, respectively.-TradeArabia News Service