Khalifa Bin Salman Port ready for operations launch
A new port that could one day grow to rival the Middle East’s largest transhipment hubs will begin operations at the end of the year. After two years of construction, Khalifa Bin Salman Port (KBSP) in Bahrain will open at the end of 2008, said Steen Davidsen, regional CEO of port operator APM Terminals.
“Bahrain will be the alternative in the Upper Gulf, where you are seeing capacity shortage in a very fast-growing market,” said Davidsen. “The country will not in the near term be a natural competitor to Jebel Ali on the big East/West strings, but is a very viable alternative for Upper Gulf cargo and we are keen to pursue transhipment business for that arket.”
The Upper Gulf region consists of Kuwait and Iraq – a country that industry observers elieve could become an investment hotspot in the near future.
“The advantages we have in Bahrain are quite simple. We have space, both berth and yard, and we offer shorter distances to Upper Gulf markets compared to any other facility in the Gulf,” Davidsen added.
Located in the Hidd area of northern Bahrain, the US$530 million port will be within 5km of the international airport, currently undergoing extensive development, and will also be adjacent to the new Bahrain Logistics Zone.
The contract for the port was won by APM Terminals, a unit of AP Moller-Maersk. The parent company has a history of cooperation with YBA Kanoo Group, which is now a partner in the APM Terminals Bahrain project.
Land reclamation for the port began in mid-1998 and was finished in mid-2004. Actual infrastucture construction began in October 2006 and Davidsen has confirmed in an interview with Sea Freight Middle East that the port is now set to be operational by the fourth quarter of this year.
The 110 hectare port will be offering a range of services including ‘standard’ operations such as servicing container vessels, break bulk cargo, Ro-Ro vessels, livestock vessels
and cruise vessels, as well as providing marine services, including the use of tug boats and pilotage.
The port will comprise 1800 metres of berthing, including 900 metres for container ships. Four post-Panamax cranes, plus 10 rubber-tyre gantry cranes and four smaller mobile cranes will also be available at KBSP, which will have an overall capacity of 2.5 million TEUs.
KBSP will be privately operated, in comparison to the Bahrain Logistics Zone, which will be managed by the General Organisation of Sea Ports (GOP). However, Davidsen confirmed that there would be a solid and close working relationship between the two entities.
“We work closely with GOP and the industrial zones in Bahrain to market the benefits of establishing Bahrain as a worldclass hub which is so ideally located at the heart of the booming markets in the Upper Gulf,” he said. “Bahrain’s business-friendly approach to investment is clearly supported by the vital infrastructure a modern port offers the country.”