Bahrain is looking at introducing a new maritime code to help boost its maritime transportation and logistics sector and further enhance the customer experience at its main seaport Khalifa Bin Salman Port (KBSP), a top official of the Ministry of Transportation and Telecommunications (MTT) said.
The updated maritime law is currently in legislative process and forms a part of MTT strategy to boost maritime transport sector, stated Hassan Ali AlMajed, the undersecretary for Port and Maritime Affairs (PMA) at the ministry, while addressing a joint media briefing hosted by PMA and APM Terminals Bahrain yesterday.
APM Terminals (APMT) Bahrain is the operator of the Khalifa Bin Salman Port (KBSP) which is designed to handle 1 million twenty feet equivalent (TEU) per annum.
“As the regulator for the sector, PMA is working on introducing a new maritime law that has all of the updated regulations needed for businesses to further thrive, and we are also working on deepening Bahrain’s channel to allow the third generation container vessels to access the port,” remarked AlMajed.
“We have always implemented a partnership approach with our stakeholders, and in addition to our regular discussions with APMT, we also regularly meet our clients who are operating in the sector to make sure that the services the port provides are in line with their expectations, and that we are offering efficiency levels that help them conduct their business,” he added.
AlMajed said this year, with customer centricity as one of the key focus areas for KBSP, APMT Bahrain will be actively working on offering a range of transport and logistical solutions or value-added services to its customers in Bahrain.
This includes end-user services which include cargo stuffing and stripping and bonded storage of the goods at KBSP. This will help create an effective supply chain which will directly increase savings and eliminate wastage for companies, further enabling them to focus on their core business areas, he added.
Additionally, the port is also working on launching a dedicated IT self-service portal that will allow customers to track shipments, book appointments and make payments online.
Highlighting the positive growth achieved by KBSP in container volume and general cargo, Al Majed said: “KBSP, operated by APMT Bahrain, has witnessed container volume growth by a CAGR of 10 per cent between 2009 and 2017.”
“The port has also recorded an impressive 7 per cent growth in container volume in 2017, with an additional 21 per cent spike in general cargo with a positive outlook estimated for 2018,” he added.
According to him, the majority of this volume is attributed to gateway cargo with the KBSP currently also handling two deep sea services - The Ocean Alliance MEA3 & MSC Cheetah Service.
“We are pleased to report this positive growth for 2017, which is in fact an extension of our growth over the past few years,” he stated.
"PMA has been working hand in hand with APMT Bahrain to ensure that our customers get the very best services possible and that the regulatory environment is in place to enable this," he added.
AlMajed pointed out that Bahrain, currently offers port facilities that some of the neighbouring countries don’t have in place.
"So we are pleased to be able to offer trans-shipment services to shipping lines that want to call the region. The growth volumes speak for themselves and I’m happy that our joint efforts have succeeded in achieving our common goals," he noted.
In 2018, APMT Bahrain will be moving ahead to attract increased trans-shipment volumes to targeted countries such as Kuwait and Iraq in the Northern Gulf. It also plans to demonstrate cost savings to shipping lines by routeing these volumes via Bahrain especially with some of the mainliner services connecting Bahrain directly to key destinations in Asia.
Mark Hardiman, the CEO/Managing Director of APM Terminals Bahrain said: "KBSP is a world-class, multi-purpose facility that is strategically located in the heart of the Gulf and well-equipped to meet the ever-increasing demands for port infrastructure to facilitate trade."
"As we strive towards achieving further growth our focus is to increase the service offerings to our landside customers as a port integrator of choice," he noted.
"To achieve this objective, we continue to work very closely with the various government agencies including the MTT, the Bahrain Economic Development Board and Department of Customs Affairs to attract more investments into the country by offering attractive supply chain solutions," he added.
The port also operates a passenger terminal thereby directly contributing to developing the tourism sector in the kingdom.
Working closely with the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, MTT and APMT have been successful in attracting cruise tourism traffic to Bahrain, witnessing a 3 per cent growth in cruise vessel calls and a 23 per cent increase in passenger flows last year, further substantiating its role in uplifting Bahrain trade and tourism sectors.-TradeArabia News Service