During the first half of 2017, Bahrain attracted an astonishing volume of inward investment to its manufacturing and logistics sector. Most of these investments have chosen Bahrain International Investment Park and Bahrain Logistics Zone to be their regional base. This large-scale commitment is expected to create around 1,000 new local jobs within three years.
Manufacturing output in Bahrain has soared by 80% over the last ten years, while the manufacturing and logistics sector is now the third-largest contributor to the Kingdom’s economy, accounting for 14.4% of 2016 GDP.
But the recent increase in growth comes from companies wanting to use Bahrain to access economic and commercial opportunities across the USD 1.6 trillion GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council).
Why companies choose Bahrain
Manufacturing and logistics businesses prefer Bahrain for a wide variety of reasons. Here are the top few.
Best market access. Bahrain is close to key Gulf export markets by road, sea and air – speeding goods to their destination and saving money.
Business freedom. A liberal regulatory environment and minimal bureaucracy mean that foreign companies can operate without exchange controls or free-zone restrictions. All of which helps to make Bahrain MENA’s freest economy,
Low costs. Industrial operating costs are the GCC’s lowest, with set-up, transport, employment and port handling all highly competitive. Corporate and personal taxation hardly exists.
Superb infrastructure. Bahrain offers the Gulf’s shortest transit between entry point (such as Khalifa bin Salman Port) and Bahrain Logistics Zone (BLZ). Everything is integrated and continuously upgraded – including ongoing expansion and modernisation of Bahrain International Airport to increase cargo capacity to one million tonnes, work to build a second road link to Saudi Arabia, and streamlined procedures on the existing King Fahd Causeway.
Excellent human capital. Manufacturing and logistics companies can recruit locally from a highly educated and skilled bilingual workforce. Our people are motivated and commercially focused – so they hit the ground running.
H.E. Khalid Al Rumaihi, Chief Executive of the EDB, said: “The economic transformation taking place in the GCC is creating exciting opportunities for manufacturing companies – and we are delighted that many are choosing Bahrain as a location from which to access them.
“Further investments, such as the ongoing modernisation and expansion of Bahrain International Airport, the building of a second causeway to Saudi Arabia and additional regulatory reforms are expected to make it even easier for businesses looking to access the region from Bahrain and we look forward to welcoming more firms in the coming years.”
|Who’s been investing?
Mondelēz, the world’s second largest food and beverage company, set up a state-of-art factory in Bahrain in 2008 to produce 60,000 tonnes of Kraft cheese and Tang products a year. In 2017 it built a biscuit plant to meet rising demand in the Middle East and Africa that will generate 200 jobs.
Armada, a leading GCC textile and fashion distributor, has begun construction of its regional distribution centre in BLZ. It has invested more than USD 50 million and will create 400 direct jobs. Other significant investments in 2017 include Agility ECU Worldwide, SMSA Express, Elsewedy Electric, Mennekes, Sonmez Metal, Tsinx Environment Technology, Almajdouie Holding, Lals Group, Kuehne+Nagel, Sandvik and Agility Logistics.