The opening of the new Khalifa Bin Salman Port later this year will see the Kingdom of Bahrain enhance its traditional place at the centre of transport and trade in the region, particularly for destinations in the Upper Gulf.
Khalifa Bin Salman Port is strategically positioned in the middle of the Arabian Gulf and offers capacity, efficient operations, fast turn-around times for vessels and short transit times. The port’s location in the heart of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) will make Bahrain an ideal choice for carriers trans-shipping containers to the important and rapidly expanding Upper Gulf region, particularly the markets of Kuwait, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and northern Iran. It is has been built with this Upper Gulf market specifically in mind, and will make Bahrain a cost effective location for carriers to transship containers in this growing market.
In 2006, APM Terminals, the world’s second largest terminal operator, was awarded a concession to manage and operate the existing port, Mina Salman, until such time as Khalifa Bin Salman Port was completed. This agreement has subsequently been followed by a 25 year operating concession from 1st February 2009, when the Bahrain government handed the port over to APM for commissioning and operating.
Once Khalifa Bin Salman Port is completed, APM Terminals plans to migrate operations from Mina Salman Port over a six-week period. This is primarily to accommodate cargo storage for import and export. From a vessel point of view, the switch will be immediate. At the end of one week actual operations will cease at the old port and they will begin at the new port from the beginning of the next. Iain Rawlinson, Chief Commercial Officer for APM Terminals Bahrain says that the main reason for this is one of “available labour and logistics. The old port has four gantries, so has the new – this approach ensures that we don’t have to operate both facilities at the same time”.
With a quay wall of 1.8 km, an operations depth of 15 m and cranes capable of handling vessels with an 18 stack width, Khalifa Bin Salman Port has been created specifically for the shipping needs of the 21st Century.
Built on a site of approximately 900,000 m2, the port has been designed to allow for future expansion. A planned initial throughput of 1.1 million 20-foot Equivalent Units (TEUs) can rise to about 3 million TEUs, nearly the size of Felixstowe (AAPA Port Rankings 2006), as market demand increases.