Bahrain-US direct shipping line on way
Manama, July 19, 2013
Bahrain will soon have new direct service shipping lines to the US, Malaysia, Thailand, Korea and China, said the chief executive of Khalifa Bin Salman Port operator APM Terminals.
"Starting from next month, you will be able to book a container from Bahrain to Los Angeles, direct through," Marco Neelsen was quoted as saying in the Gulf Daily News, our sister publication.
"It will be a weekly service provided by NYK from Japan and Hanjin from Korea. We expect the connection to open up many opportunities, more so because of Bahrain's free trade agreement with the US.
"The competitive advantage is not only for Bahrain-based manufacturers but also for shippers and carriers alike as this means no offloading or transshipment in Jebel Ali or Singapore," he added while speaking on the sidelines of a ghabga.
"This is good for raw materials coming in to Bahrain as well. In simple terms, it means goods come in faster and cheaper. The time saved is at least a week or more. At the moment, it takes about 40 days to ship from Bahrain to Los Angeles," he said.
According to him, the move also cements Bahrain's role as a logistics hub for the Northern Gulf, targeting countries like Kuwait, Iraq and Saudi Arabia.
"It’s important to consider that ships coming will not only bring local cargo but also transshipment cargo," Neelsen said.
"There will be a need for smaller ships from Bahrain connecting the Upper Gulf, which means that traders who today use the causeway to move cargo can use ships in the future. A big ship automatically creates a network of smaller ships that relay the cargo to various smaller ports," he added.
"This is another incentive for companies to set up shop in Bahrain as they get both regional and international connectivity," he said.
"Last year was very good for the port and for Bahrain, as we achieved 525,000 container throughput last year - the highest ever," he added.
"The year before it was around 370,000, which shows how the market expanded last year as did the economy in Bahrain. The first six months of the current year have also been good and we have also had moderate growth in domestic cargo.
"The port facilities are equipped to handle the growth projections for the next few years," he said.
"We are investing in developing the superstructure and have already invested about $1 million so far this year.
"With continued robust support from the government and our business partners, we are confident in achieving our goals of sustainable value growth in the coming years and positioning Bahrain as the preferred port of choice in the region," he added.
Held at the Bushido restaurant in Bahrain, the event was attended by the company's business partners, senior government official and management officials. – TradeArabia News Service