Bahrain Logistics and Maritime Credentials Presented To Japanese Businesses In Tokyo
A high-level delegation of maritime and logistics officials from Bahrain met with senior industry leaders in Tokyo today to promote the Kingdom of Bahrain’s business environment and logistics and maritime credentials at an event held at The Peninsula Hotel in Tokyo. The visiting delegation includes senior figures from the General Organisation of Sea Ports (GOP), Economic Development Board (EDB), APM Terminals Bahrain and the Bahrain Logistics Zone (BLZ).
During a joint GOP-EDB seminar titled “Opportunities in the Kingdom of Bahrain’s Maritime and Logistics Sector” held today in cooperation with the Embassy of the Kingdom of Bahrain in Japan, over 40 representatives of Japanese businesses interested in the opportunities presented by Bahrain gained insight into the latest developments in the Kingdom.
GOP chairman Shaikh Daij bin Salman Al Khalifa, who is leading the Bahrain delegation said: “Meeting Japanese counterparts and key decision makers enables us to explain the many benefits we can offer companies looking to site logistics facilities in Bahrain. Indeed, this visit comes at a time when Bahrain is upgrading its logistics infrastructure, having just inaugurated our state-of-the-art port last year and with plans to start operations of the BLZ this year. In addition, major infrastructure projects including new bridge to Qatar and the $4.8 billion airport expansion present unprecedented opportunities for companies who are looking to either expand their activities in the region, or to start their operations.
We look forward to the opportunity to sharing our thoughts about the region and the potential for growth which it offers to companies looking for new, dynamic markets in today’s difficult global economy.”
With the opening of the KBSP in 2009, and work progressing rapidly on BLZ, Bahrain is emerging as the ideal and most cost-effective transhipment hub to more efficiently serve the large and rapidly developing northern Gulf markets of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, northern Iran and Iraq. The surrounding infrastructure - including Bahrain International Airport and King Fahd Causeway to Saudi Arabia and the planned construction of the causeway linking Bahrain to Qatar - provide an excellent transport network to reinforce Bahrain’s strategic location at the heart of the Gulf, making it a thriving platform for companies wishing to engage in multi-model logistics through sea, air, and land movements. Logistics firms already operating in Bahrain include DHL, Fed Ex, Aramex, Agility and TNT.
The seminar participants included representatives of the logistics, maritime, financial services, industrial and food sectors in Japan, all of whom expressed an interest in learning more about the potential business opportunities for their companies in the Kingdom.
Presentations were made by EDB, GOP, BLZ and APM Terminals to share details of the overall investment environment in Bahrain, as well as specific opportunities arising from the numerous developments currently underway by the maritime and logistics authorities in Bahrain.
Alongside discussion of the logistics industry the delegation also highlighted other areas of potential cooperation and investment as part of the EDB’s remit to attract investment into Bahrain. Bahrain has a clear sense of the sectors it intends to grow as part of the Kingdom’s Economic Vision 2030 and National Economic Strategy, designed to drive the private sector as an engine for growth, support further diversification of the economy – already recognised as the most diversified in the Gulf – and ultimately elevate national living standards by creating greater opportunities for Bahrainis.
Shaikh Mohammed bin Essa Al Khalifa, Chief Executive of the Bahrain EDB, said: “The countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) alone represent a market of around one trillion US dollars and with a rapidly expanding, young population this is set to grow further. The Khalifa Bin Salman Port and Bahrain Logistics Zone now represent a world class logistics hub right at the heart of the Gulf. This further consolidates Bahrain’s position as an ideal location from which Japanese and international businesses can access these markets.”
The Bahrain delegation hopes to build on the close commercial and economic relations between Bahrain and Japan. Bilateral trade between Japan and Bahrain increased by more than 20% to U.S. $1.3 billion in 2008, confirming the status of Japan as the Kingdom’s second largest global trading partner (only to the U.S. with which Bahrain has a Free Trade Agreement). Trade relations are expected to grow further with the nearing of a GCC-Japan Free Trade Agreement. Already many prominent Japanese institutions have chosen Bahrain as their regional headquarters, including Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi, Daiwa Securities, Toyota Training Centre and Nomura.
In addition to the seminar, the delegation also held individual meetings with several Japanese companies, and met with government officials at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism. The delegation will also tour the Port of Yokohama as part of its programme to learn about Japan’s capabilities and operations in ports and shipping. The head of the delegation, Shaikh Daij, is visiting Japan at the official invitation of the Japanese government.