Bahrain Logistics Zone off to rousing launch

Sheikh Daij bin Salman Al Khalifa

More than 300 local, regional and international organisations attended the official launch of the region's first boutique logistics area.

The Bahrain Logistics Zone (BLZ) provides more than 475,000 square metres of leasable space for companies that focus on re-export and value-adding logistics activities.

Sheikh Daij bin Salman Al Khalifa, Chairman of the board of the General Organisation of Sea Ports, said the zone was a step toward to making Bahrain into an alternative hub in the Gulf to serve vast markets such as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Iran, Kuwait, Qatar, and in the future, Iraq.

"The unprecedented growth that not only the Gulf, but also in our close neighbours in the Indian Subcontinent and northern Africa are experiencing, places enormous demands on the existing business, transportation and logistics infrastructure. As a result, alternative options become a pre-requisite to sustain the region's growth," he said.

The zone is a customs-free logistics park, regulated by the General Organisation of Seaports, designed for capacity expansion demands and to provide simplified, streamlined and efficient multimodal transfer of cargo.

"Bahrain's strategic location that provides easy access to markets totalling more than $400 billion (Dh1.46bn) in imports, the ease to do business in the country, the new KBS port, and its air and land connectivity to the region, all come together to make Bahrain an ideal location for an alternative logistics hub in the region" said Hassan Ali AlMajed, director-general of the General Organisation of Sea Ports, Bahrain.

Meanwhile, Robert Ziegler, vice-president, AT Kearney, a global strategic management consulting firm, added Bahrain's appeal stems from its reputation as a liberal and progressive business destination with the largest concentration of financial institutions in the Middle East. He added the country is also well known for its investor friendliness.

"The opening of the KBS port and the Bahrain Logistics Zone in September 2008 is the stepping stone to transform the vision of making Bahrain a hub for the Gulf into a reality," said Zeigler.

The BLZ is expected to attract more than BHD100m (Dh974m) in direct investment and 2,400 direct employment opportunities. A boutique logistics park in the state-of-the-art Khalifa Bin Salman Port, regulated by Bahrain General Organisation of Seaports, BLZ will have an ultra-modern seaport with a capacity of 2.5 million TEUs and world-class customs processes facilitating re-exports.