King Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifa inaugurates Khalifa Bin Salman port
Under the patronage of King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa and with the attendance of Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa, the Prime Minister, and Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander, the General Organisation of Sea Ports (GOP) officially inaugurated the Kingdom’s new state-of-the-art Khalifa Bin Salman Port (KBSP) at a ceremony held at the port today. This event concurs with the Kingdom’s 38th National Day celebrations and the 10th anniversary of King Hamad’s accession to the throne.
The Chairman of GOP, Shaikh Daij bin Salman bin Daij Al Khalifa, welcomed guests with a speech in which he praised the efforts of all those involved in the development and completion of the port.
Shaikh Daij also thanked the ministers and private sector partners, especially APM Terminals Bahrain, a leader in port management and the operator of KBSP, for the smooth transfer of operations from Mina Salman Port to KBSP.
The Khalifa Bin Salman Port, occupying a land area of 110 hectares of reclaimed land on the Northeast of the Kingdom of Bahrain, began operations on April 1 this year and is expected to quickly become the premier trans-shipment hub for the Northern Gulf and Saudi Arabia. The state-of-the-art BD136.3 million Port has a total quayside of 1800 metres and is designed to accommodate a container capacity, measured as twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU), of more than 1.1 million TEUs annually, as well as passengers, general breakbulk and roll-on/roll-off cargo.
Its capacity is four times larger than the capacity of Mina Salman Port, which has been Bahrain's main port over the past 50 years. Unlike Mina Salman Port, the new world-class port will ultimately have the capability to handle ships with draughts up to 15m, the size of which are becoming commonplace in the Arabian Gulf as foreign trade increases and the region prospers.
Commenting, Shaikh Daij said: "KBSP is the first multi-functional facility that is focused on imports, exports, re-exports, and other value-added economic activities in the region. It represents a quantum leap for Bahrain in the area of maritime shipping. The port is one of the most modern ports in the Arabian Gulf and it will help revive economic activity and attract foreign investments to the region, especially the Northern Gulf. It is also one of the most prominent developmental projects for the Bahraini society, creating a better standard of living for citizens as it offers rewarding job opportunities for the people of the Kingdom. We are pleased to reveal today that about 87 percent of the workers in the port are qualified Bahrainis."
The port's buildings and infrastructure were implemented and completed by the Ministry of Works, which handed the port over to GOP early this year for the purpose of supervision and control. The port is being managed and operated by APM Terminals Bahrain.
On this occasion, Minister of Works Fahmi bin Ali Al Jowder said: "This project and its success are symbolic of the Ministry’s role in the Kingdom’s sustained development and expansion, and to realizing the Bahrain Economic Vision 2030. We are a dynamic, leading professional organisation committed to high performance and the fruits of this commitment are seen here before us today in this superb, world-class shipping facility.”
For his part, Executive Vice President of A.P. Moller-Maersk A/S Flemming Ipsen said: "We are pleased that we were chosen to contribute to the creation of this landmark project that will serve Bahrain's future ambitions. We have had a close relationship with GOP since we took charge of Mina Salman Port in 2006 and this new port early this year. On this occasion I would like to express my high appreciation for all GOP staff, headed by Chairman Shaikh Daij bin Salman bin Daij Al Khalifa and Director General Hassan Ali Al Majed, for their trust and good business approach."
A documentary offering a behind-the-scenes look at the port’s construction process was aired at the ceremony, which concluded with King Hamad unveiling a plaque to signal the official opening of the port. His Majesty was presented with a memento from his Excellency the chairman of GOP and a book titled “Tribute to the Two Seas: Bahrain’s Bright Maritime Future” before touring the port with the Royal Princes and high level officials, during which he praised the high quality of the facilities.
The port’s first quarter operational statistics showed marked development in overall competence and revenues. The number of container vessels berthing monthly at the port averages 41 while approximately 39 general cargo vessels berth monthly.
Among the general cargo vessels are cruise ships (an average of three cruise ships weekly), military ships, breakbulk, bulk (grain and cement) and livestock. The port also plays a key role in logistics and delivery of goods. Some 40 percent of the goods arriving at the port terminal are unpacked and loaded on local trucks for delivery. It should be noted that the area of the container terminal at the port is 900,000 square meters and that it now has 3800 containers. The terminal has 10,800 ground slots out of an overall storage capacity of 54,000 TEU, 33 per cent of which has been utilized so far.
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