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Mon 1 Jan 2007 12:00 AM

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Investment zone to boost Bahrain logistics

Bahrain’s status as a logistics superhub is expected to receive a boost, following the launch of Bahrain Investment Wharf (BIW).

Bahrain’s status as a logistics superhub is expected to receive a boost, following the launch of Bahrain Investment Wharf (BIW).

The ambitious development will include a large-scale logistics park, with 250,000m2 allocated for supply chain activities, including warehouse storage, packaging and distribution.

“Bahrain has always enjoyed an enviable reputation as a regional logistics hub. We are simply revamping and modernising that image,” said Ahmed Al Dailami, marketing executive, BIW.

The wharf is being strategically located in Hidd, in the Northeast of the Bahrain, within close proximity to the country’s airport, seaport and road network. “The project will be particularly attractive to the logistics industry because of the excellent transportation links,” added Al Dailami. “It is located approximately 2km away from Bahrain International Airport and 1km from the new Sheikh Khalifa Bin Salman port. In addition, the King Fahad Causeway and a recently planned causeway connection to Qatar are within close proximately.”

BIW is hoping to attract the interest of the logistics industry by offering a range of business incentives, including complete customs duty exemption on capital goods, raw materials for manufacturing, re-export goods and imports required for development projects. Companies can also establish themselves in BIW without a local sponsor, which means full business ownership in most categories, ensuring 100% profit retention.

“The opportunities for warehousing and other logistics related facilities at BIW are very innovative. For example, we are offering plots of land facing the sea, which investors can turn into individual logistics hubs,” said Al Dailami.

“Companies can bring their freight ships and immediately land on their allocated plots, conduct the loading and unloading activities, and even service the ships. This could prove very valuable for companies in the logistics industry, or even those handling supply chain management inhouse, as part of their overall operations.”

BIW will also include an industrial park, measuring 800,000m2, which will target medium and small industries, such as textiles, furniture manufacturing, light electronics, chemical products and fabricated metal. “The industrial area is potentially very lucrative for logistics companies operating in BIW,” said Al Dailami. “Since their warehouses will be located nearby, the 3PLs can service the manufacturing companies, especially in terms of importing the raw materials and exporting the fi nished products.”

Al Dailami believes the recent free trade agreement (FTA) between Bahrain and the United States of America will also boost BIW’s appeal. The agreement, which is currently valued at almost US$1 billion a year, eliminates tariffs on consumer and industrial goods traded between both countries. “A similar agreement has already impacted Jordan in a very positive way,” he added. “Within a short period, the Jordanian export industry reported an increase in growth of 70% and 30,000 new jobs were created. I believe Bahrain will experience similar growth too.”

The development is being constructed in different phases.

Approximately 45% of the land for BIW has already been dredged, ready for the infrastructure development. “The remaining amount is still under sea. As we start building infrastructure for phase one, the dredging for phases two and three will also begin,” said Al Dailami.

The completion of full infrastructure development for phase one is scheduled for completion by the end of 2007, while the dredging of phases two and three will be finished by the middle of 2008. “Its progressing on a fast-track basis and the schedule is very tight, but we’re already ahead of schedule,” added Al Dailami. “The response has been really encouraging and demand has been increasing on a daily basis, even though we only started the marketing recently.”

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