Bahrain's port set to become a major hub
Manama, October 13, 2010
Bahrain's Khalifa Bin Salman Port is poised to become a transhipment hub for the upper Gulf region, it was declared.
With more large shipping lines expressing an interest in coming to the port in the near future, its operator APM Terminals also foresees a significant increase in business, the company's Africa, Middle East and Indian sub-continent chief executive officer Charles Menkhorst said.
'The port is expected to reach a capacity of a million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) containers by 2014, from the present half a million,' he told our sister newspaper Gulf Daily News (GDN).
'There is considerable room for growth and with the interest being generated, we are sure a number of large shipping companies will come.'
Menkhorst, who was in Bahrain to attend a company board meeting and take part in its global safety day celebrations, said APL, one of the world's largest shipping companies, is operating from Bahrain, using it as a transhipment hub.
'As more and more come in and capacity increases, Bahrain is expected to become a point from where goods are transferred to smaller vessels and sent to Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran and Qatar.'
He said this would mean bigger vessels coming to the port and an increase in feeder vessels operating out of it.
Menkhorst said APM Terminals forecast a revenue of BD20 million for this year which would be a 'break-even' figure.
'We would have wanted to make a lot of money but the recent economic downturn has made it difficult. However, things are expected to change in the very near future and we hope to do good business for Bahrain and the port.' He said there is a very large captive shipping business in Bahrain and is growing. 'However, it is the transhipment business we are focussing on to grow.'
He said the ultimate capacity of the port is expected to reach 2.5 million TEUs by when there would be a massive increase in the number of ships calling at the facility.-TradeArabia News Service