More than $200 million worth of investment into Bahrain’s manufacturing and logistics sector was attracted in the first half of this year, the Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB) revealed.
The investments are expected to create approximately 1,000 jobs over the next three years. The growth follows a substantial increase in the number of international businesses looking to use Bahrain as a hub to access and seize the regional opportunities offered in the GCC market and beyond.
Mondelez International, one of the world’s largest snacks companies, is building one of its global manufacturing and distribution hubs in Bahrain, in order to meet the growing demand in the Middle East and Africa. Mondelez is building a state-of-the-art biscuit production plant that will produce the famous brands Oreo, Ritz and TUC. The plant will generate 200 jobs in its initial phase.
This is the second investment by Mondelez in Bahrain in less than 10 years where in 2008 they have launched a 60,000 ton production facility for Kraft cheese and Tang products that exports to 47 countries including the United States.
Modern industrial park
Both investments by Mondelez are located at Bahrain International Investment Park (BIIP), one of the most developed and modern industrial parks in the region.
Leading GCC textile and fashion distribution company Armada Group has recently begun construction of its regional distribution centre in the Bahrain Logistics Zone (BLZ), investing over $50 million and creating 400 direct jobs over the next three years for Bahraini nationals. The BLZ is strategically located close to the Khalifa bin Salman Port, allowing Bahrain to have the shortest travel time in the region between its export hubs and logistics zones.
The Kingdom’s strong regional transport links and its strategic geographical position provides easy access to the $1.5 trillion GCC economy, proving an attractive location for international logistics companies.
Other important investments this year include ECU Worldwide, SMSA Express, Elsewedy Electric, Mennekes, Sonmez Metal, Tsinx Environment Technology, Almajdouie Holding, Lals Group, as well as expansion investments by several companies including Kuehne + Nagel, Sandvik, and Agility Logistics.
The recent investments are also supported by a significant program of infrastructure investment and reforms across a number of sectors, which have served to enhance Bahrain’s reputation as a ‘Gateway to the Gulf’.
In the World Bank’s Doing Business 2017 report, Bahrain was named as one of 10 countries improving the most in three or more areas, one of which was “trading across borders,” a critical factor for manufacturing companies exporting their goods to the regional market. This is in large part due to the consistent work to improve infrastructure and streamline procedures at the King Fahd Causeway.
Bahrain’s manufacturing, transportation and logistics sector is currently one of the largest contributors to the country’s GDP, and accounted for 20.3 percent of 2016 GDP, and the sector continues to grow at a significant rate.
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 modernization 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.”