Bahrain is home to three of the world’s top 20 special economic zones and locations for inward investment, economic development and business expansion globally, according to the 2012-13 Global Free Zones Rankings, released by Foreign Direct Investment Magazine.
The report, which considered 150 free zones and special economic zones worldwide, saw Bahrain International Investment Park (15th worldwide), Khalifa Bin Salman Port (16th worldwide) and Bahrain International Airport (19th worldwide) all placed within the leading 20 locations, with Bahrain Logistics Zone also included in the report, ranking 30th.
The report’s rankings reflect the Kingdom’s established position as a regional logistics and transportation hub. Strategically located at the heart of the Gulf, Bahrain has long been considered the gateway to the region, with easy access to the large economies of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar. With excellent transport infrastructure, and the causeway linking Bahrain to Saudi Arabia, Bahrain’s logistics industry has been growing fast in response to increasing demand from businesses.
Kamal bin Ahmed, Minister of Transportation and Acting Chief Executive of the Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB), said: “We are delighted that Bahrain’s logistics capability has been recognised in this report. All three of these leading centres play a key role in making Bahrain the best location from which to access the GCC markets in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait, whether by air, sea or land.
Ahmed added: “Optimising Bahrain’s connectivity to the region through world-class facilities plays an important part in our strategy to create sustainable economic growth and high-quality Bahraini jobs for the long term. With a number of projects for further investments planned over the coming years, including the expansion of Bahrain International Airport, we are confident that Bahrain’s position as the best location for companies looking to access the Gulf economy will endure.”
Commenting on the report, Hassan Ali Al Majed, Director General of the General Organisation of Sea Ports, said: “At GOP, our aim is to firmly establish Bahrain as a leading global maritime centre and transhipment hub for the Northern Gulf. We are therefore pleased with Khalifa Bin Salman Port’s ranking which recognizes the state-of-the art infrastructure, high business potential and services offered by the port. Bahrain Logistics Zone’s ranking further underscores our continuous efforts in establishing partnerships with tenants to support Bahrain’s logistics offering and our position as a regional transhipment hub.”
The Bahrain EDB is a dynamic public agency with an overall responsibility for attracting inward investment into Bahrain, and is focusing on target economic sectors in which the Kingdom offers significant strengths. The EDB played an instrumental role in attracting over USD 300 million of investment from international businesses across a wide range of sectors in 2011.
Before joining SME Advisor, I worked as a producer/reporter for Forbes Media in New York. I obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and International Studies at the University of South Florida in the US. I am currently in Dubai working as Sub-Editor for SME Advisor Middle East, which is a business magazine published by CPI. You can follow me on Twitter: @joumanasaad or @SMEadvisorME and (Joumana Saad) or (SME Advisor) on LinkedIn.