A BLUEPRINT to put Bahrain amongst the top 20 countries in logistics, increase flight destinations to 70 and increase the flow of air freight to one million metric tonnes is underway.

Transportation and Telecommunications Minister Mohammed Al Kaabi said that infrastructure work continues at Bahrain International Airport (BIA) to form a comprehensive and advanced global logistics centre.He added that construction work in the express air cargo area located west of the passengers’ terminal has been completed.

“The new 58,000sqm area has a maximum capacity of an estimated 1.3 million metric tonnes and consists of warehouses and aircraft parking,” he said.“To deal with air freight movement and rapid e-commerce, we are working to form a comprehensive and advanced logistics centre, which includes facilities dedicated to serving various cargo operators at the highest levels.“We aim to provide high shipping capabilities and advanced technologies to provide air freight handling services with effective efficiency and movement as we seek to take our place amongst the top 20 countries in the logistics sector, increase flight destinations to 70 and allow higher air cargo movement.”

Regarding the express air cargo area, Mr Al Kaabi explained that it will effectively contribute to enhancing the capacity of larger flows and larger volumes of cargo at BIA, and doubling the airport’s ability to meet the increasing local and regional demand.“The first phase with an area of 25,000sqm, equivalent to 59pc of the total area of the express air cargo area, has been completed.“It includes 10 warehouses, equipped with 19 units, in addition to a distinguished handling service, which includes two warehouses for the international shipping company FedEx, which will operate 9,000sqm for 10 years, a joint handling facility, and a warehouse for the Bahrain Duty Free Company.”Mr Al Kaabi, who was responding to a question by MP Mamdooh Al Saleh on plans to develop the logistics sector, said due to the running out of space in the first phase of the project, the second phase was implemented.“It includes 12 warehouses with a total area of 6,000sqm, to enhance the capabilities of BIA, thus contributing to attracting more air cargo companies to Bahrain,” he added.

“In this regard, the Bahrain Airport Company is negotiating with one of the international air freight companies to rent space in the express air freight area.“There is a blueprint that we are working accordingly to meet by 2026.”Regarding the airlines that begin operations at BIA, the minister confirmed that there are 28 companies, including 13 companies from the GCC, three airlines from Arab countries, in addition to 11 European and Asian airlines and an African airline.

As for air freight companies, he pointed out that BIA is a major distribution centre for DHL Middle East and North Africa for nearly 40 years, in addition to a number of 13 air freight companies.Shura Council members were also notified about other written responses presented by them during yesterday’s weekly session.l

There are seven industrial zones covering 14.5 million square metres and featuring an investment of BD3.7bn in Bahrain, it was revealed.Industry and Commerce Minister Abdulla bin Adel Fakhro said the seven zones included 851 plots of which 91 per cent was leased.Responding to a question by Shura’s financial and economic affairs committee chairman Khalid Al Maskati on industrial areas, the minister said average revenues per year are around BD14.5m.l Municipalities Affairs and Agriculture Minister Wael Al Mubarak said special facilities for people with disabilities are being integrated into construction designs and service allocation in all municipal projects.He was responding to a question by Shura’s woman and child committee chairwoman Dr Fatima Al Kooheji on having special facilities for people with disabilities in parks, walkways and gardens.l

Education Minister Dr Mohammed Mubarak Juma said 250 students with disabilities have graduated from secondary school over the past five years.Replying to a question by Shura member Ejlal Bubshait on graduates with disabilities, he said 234 students with disabilities were registered in local government and private universities in the current 2023/2024 academic year.l Debate on a proposed social media law was postponed due to time constraints.

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