Leading firms eye Bahrain port deal
Manama, November 7, 2011
Several major companies, both from Bahrain and overseas, are in the running to become the operator of the Kingdom's Mina Salman port.
Of the 14 companies, all are joint ventures except one foreign firm, which has submitted a singular bid, said General Organisation of Seaports (GOP) director-general Hassan Al Majed.
Bids will be accepted until November 23 and it will take between four to six weeks for the tender to formally awarded. The new operator is expected to be in place by the beginning of next year, said the official.
The facility, which ceased commercial operations three years ago, is being converted into a facility exclusively to import building materials.
Officials hope it will help Bahrain avoid crippling shortages that have hit the construction sector in recent years, costing the industry millions of dinars.
Al Majed said that with mega construction projects on the rise in Bahrain, the cost of building materials had increased due to the shortage of local supply and production capacity.
'Bahrain currently imports its building materials from neighbouring countries in small vessels or barges, but with the development of the bulk building materials terminal, which enjoys a deeper draught at 10 metres, a larger market for construction materials is expected to be established,' he said.
Officials were confident the investment would generate attractive returns for Bahrain and the Gulf.
Al Majed said since most of the infrastructure at the old port was already in place, it would not take long to get it going again.
'We feel this would be an ideal port to import building and construction materials like sand, cement, steel and aggregate since it is centrally located and has easy access to the King Fahad Causeway, the Khalifa bin Salman Port and the centre of Manama,' he said.
Mr Al Majed said once the Mina Salman revamp was completed, it would be able to handle large shipments of materials from anywhere in the world.
'Importers would find it more convenient as well since now they won't have to depend on barges and small ships,' he said.
Mr Al Majed said the GOP considered the construction of the dedicated terminal a strategic and important project in line with the directives of the government.
'The GOP has embarked on a plan to re-develop Mina Salman port primarily to address the increasing demand for building materials in Bahrain,' he added.-TradeArabia News Service