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Logistics Committee holds press conference
13th December, 2016

The committee responsible for Bahrain’s logistics sector today emphasised the important role of the new King Hamad Causeway in expanding Bahrain’s logistics sector and improving connectivity between Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.

The Logistics Committee has been established under the directives of His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander and First Deputy Prime Minister. The committee today held a press conference at the Customs Affairs HQ. It praised the role played by the Government’s Executive Committee, led by HRH Crown Prince, in introducing policies and initiatives that directly contribute to the expansion of Bahrain’s logistics sector.

The Logistics Committee noted the increased coordination and collaboration among government departments, which reflects the government’s commitment to delivering a more efficient and advanced logistics sector across the country.

The Logistics Committee also stressed the importance of continuing to promote Bahrain’s logistics sector and its role in driving economic growth and attracting international investment to the country.

The Logistics Committee’s principal objective is to monitor and improve processes associated with the logistics sector. The committee includes the following departments:

Ministry of Transportation and Telecommunications

Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism

Economic Development Board (EDB)

Customs Affairs
During the press conference, the Minister of Transportation and Telecommunications, Kamal bin Ahmed Mohammed, announced that a new package of investment agreements and expansion projects are currently in the pipeline, adding that the new projects will contribute to Bahrain’s sustainable development efforts. He highlighted the substantial increase in international investment across Bahrain’s Logistical Zone, which now hosts B&P, Multicom Real Estate, and Armada Group.
Speaking at the conference, Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, Zayed Al-Zayani, highlighted the Ministry’s commitment to meeting the government’s goals of facilitating regional and international investment across Bahrain’s key sectors. He also highlighted that a number of innovative policies and processes are being implemented, and that this commitment aligns with ongoing efforts to build on Bahrain’s strategic location and regional connectivity.

Chief Executive of Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB), Khalid Al-Rumaihi, noted that Bahrain’s economy is diversified, with the non-oil sector now accounting for over 80% of the country’s GDP. He further noted that the logistics sector has great potential, and currently represents 7% of the national economy, according to the quarterly report published by EBD. The logistics sector also provides a substantial amount of job opportunities; currently the sector supports 19,000 jobs, of which 38% are held by Bahrainis.

Al-Rumaihi added that Bahrain’s location gives it an advantage over other GCC countries, with close access to Saudi Arabia – the region’s largest single market – and other major markets.

Al-Rumaihi highlighted that the logistics sector allows opportunities to both local and foreign investors. With the decision to allow 100% foreign ownership within the logistics sector, Bahrain’s logistics sector has become a major attraction to investors. Foreign ownership has also paved the way for major companies to open headquarters in Bahrain in order to bolster their presence in the region.

Customs President and Deputy President of World Customs Organisation (WCO), Shaikh Ahmed bin Hamad Al Khalifa, said that Bahrain’s customs sector has undertaken several steps to improve the performance of the Kingdom’s customs tasks, such as reviewing and facilitating customs procedures of vehicles crossing the King Fahd Causeway. He added that Bahrain Customs’ efforts have led to a 90% reduction in truck waiting times, and it is working on further improvements.

He noted that the Joint Committee for Customs Clearance, which was established in June 2016, aims to assess the quality of services provided and increase the speed of customs procedures at customs offices and ports. He added that the committee is working on the implementation of an improved plan for every regulatory authority.

He further highlighted that following extensive consultations, the committee has launched a plan to improve the efficiency of current customs processes and procedures.

On strengthening security and increasing transit rates at customs offices, He said that a tender will be issued to purchase four new sets of modern scanning equipment to process containers at King Fahd Causeway and Mina Khalifa bin Salman Port. The new equipment will allow officials to scan 20-25 containers and 120 trucks per hour.

He underscored the key role Bahrain Customs has played in supporting the Kingdom’s economic development, in line with Bahrain’s Economic Vision 2030.

He noted that Bahrain Customs’ contributions include attracting a wide-range of investments from logistics companies, retailers and distributors.

He concluded by stating that strategic plans have been put in place to boost Bahrain’s logistics zone through various initiatives, including customs tax warehouses.