Transport and Logistics
Building an Attractive Hub for Investment in Manufacturing, Transport and Logistics
Bahrain is known to be the most efficient and connected Manufacturing, Transport and Logistics base in the Gulf, making it an attractive hub for international companies. The Kingdom’s strategic location at the heart of the GCC offers investors a quick and efficient access to every market in the Middle East by road, air and sea. The country is ranked 7th globally for market connectedness in the 2017 Agility Emerging Markets Index.
In order to enhance the transportation of goods and products across the region, and to tap into the growing opportunities worth some US$ 1.5 trillion, Bahrain has robust plans for transportation link expansions. This includes the new King Hamad Causeway, the GCC railway and the Urban Transit (light rail) projects along with expanding the cross border lanes for passengers and cargo over the King Fahd Causeway and streamlining the customs processes and procedures. Moreover, to ensure seamless flow across internal borders and to avoid duplication of procedures, Bahrain International Airport and Khalifa Bin Salman Port have been approved as a “first point of entry” for the GCC, which will dramatically improve the trade facilitation in the region.
Bahrain offers companies world-class, cost effective industrial zones, such as the Bahrain International Investment Park (BIIP). The landmark industrial park offers 100% foreign ownership, a 10-year guaranteed 0% tax rate and duty free access to the GCC, GAFTA, and the USA. Furthermore, the Bahrain Logistics Zone (BLZ), a dedicated customs-free, value-added logistics park, is the Middle East’s first multi-modal logistics hub to focus on re-export and value-added activities. Both the BIIP and the BLZ are located in Salman Industrial City, providing ease of access from the Khalifa Bin Salman Port in Hidd, Bahrain International Airport and Saudi Arabia via the King Fahd Causeway.
FMCG, aluminium, petrochemical, packaging and logistics businesses flourish amidst a liberal regulatory environment that permits 100% foreign ownership for companies anywhere in the country, not just in Free Zones. In addition, Bahrain is moving towards digital manufacturing with the advent of Industry 4.0, creating ‘smart factories’ which can respond to changes in real time, allowing companies the insight to eliminate expensive breakdowns in production processes and improve the quality and efficiency of their products.
Some notable companies that have invested in the Manufacturing, Transport and Logistics sector in 2017
Regulation and Legislation
Bahrain continuously reviews and enhances the regulatory environment to ensure efficiency and provide a seamless movement of goods through land, air and sea borders.
Liberalising Transport and Logistics Activities for Business
To increase foreign investment opportunities for potential businesses, Bahrain allows foreign companies to establish 100% owned regional distribution centres. This opens wider potential investment opportunities to businesses and simplifies business establishment in the country.
Streamlining the Causeway Customs Processes
One of the Kingdom’s most valuable geographical features is its direct link to Saudi Arabia. The Bahrain Logistics Board has worked tirelessly to ensure investors continue to reap the benefits of such a connection. The King Fahd Causeway has dramatically improved the movement of products and goods to and from Saudi Arabia. A new ‘Top Ten Exporters’ designation provides a fast-track lane for high volume exporters. In addition to that, dedicated lanes have been assigned for empty trucks, transit trucks and trucks carrying perishable goods to reduce waiting and expedite turnaround travel times.
Under development by Customs Affairs is a ‘Single Window’ customs clearance system, operated on a streamlined software interface, simplifying documentation processes and clearance for export-oriented companies, freight forwarders and shipping agents. On the Bahraini side of the border, the number of passport-handling cabins will be more than doubled from 17 to 37 and the number of toll fee-paying gates will also be increased.
All of these improvements in the causeway will enable companies to import and export products faster and more efficiently, allowing them to grow their business in the Kingdom and to access the region’s largest market, Saudi Arabia, in the most cost effective way.