Bahrain set to launch major port upgrade
Manama, September 28, 2011
A major upgrade of Bahrain’s Khalifa Bin Salman Port (KBSP) is on the cards with plans for a new parking area for 40,000 vehicles, a number of warehouses, two office buildings and other facilities like petrol stations and banks.
Last Wednesday was the last day for tenders to be submitted for the multi-million dinar project.
Work is expected to start in the next two months and will take two years to complete, said General Organisation of Seaports (GOP) director-general Hassan Ali Al Majed.
'This is the logical next step towards making the port one of the best in the region and the world,' he added.
He revealed dredging work on a new 66km, 13.7-metre deep channel had been completed.
'The second phase to make the channel go up to a depth of 15-metre, will soon begin,' added Al Majed.
He said this would enable very large ships to enter the port without having to wait for high tide. 'This will greatly benefit trade and reduce waiting times considerably,' he said.
Al Majed also revealed Bahrain's old Mina Salman Port would soon be converted into a dock exclusively handling construction materials.
'Tenders to appoint an operator to manage the port will soon be floated and the new facilities will be ready to roll by January,' he said.
The old port ceased operations when KBSP went online nearly three years ago.
'We have developed a master plan for the port so that it is put to the best possible use,' Al Majed added.
He explained that since most of the infrastructure at the old port was already in place, it would not take much to get it going again. 'Operations can begin as soon as a new operator takes charge,' he said.
Once the Mina Salman revamp is complete, it will be able to handle large shipments of materials like cement, steel, sand and aggregate from anywhere in the world.
'It would be more convenient to importers who now have to depend on barges and small ships,' Al Majed explained.
He revealed the GOP considered Mina Salman's location was ideal for the project, since it was right next to Shaikh Isa bin Salman Highway and close to the centre of Manama.
Bahrain currently imports building materials from neighbouring countries on small vessels or barges. – TradeArabia News Service