Gateway to Arabia
What Bahrain has in Store for the Process Industry
An Oasis for Investment – The Bahrain International Investment Park
On-site at the Bahrain International Investment Park (BIIP) — here, in the vicinity of the capital of Manama, also Siemens, Lauscha Fibers, Kraft Foods and Matrikon have built production sites. “Around 80 % of the park’s 247 hectares have already been allocated”, Gerry Sharkey, Project Director of the Bahrain International Investment Park, explains. “We want to see more high qualified Bahraini and foreign companies.”
While dust and haze blur the horizon, an AC provides a comfortable freshness in the new BASF facility. Palm trees swing gently in front of the windows, while the wind blows fine sand against the industrial plants outside. Gordian Schilling, BASF’s Managing Director in Bahrain, is relaxed: Half a year ago, the company started manufacturing polymer additives for the plastics industry at the BIIP.
Going Deeper into the Petrochemical Value Chain
“We experienced no lost time accidents!” Schilling states right away — “Thus, we were able to keep all schedules!” Now BASF wants to produce up to 16,000 tons of antioxidants per year in Bahrain, none of which will remain in the country. These additives are primarily targeted for the regional petrochemical industry. Whenever an oil company decides to export enhanced value products like plastics and basic chemicals, BASF will be to the fore. Fast, flexible and close to the customer: Regional production has cut the lead times to the market by half, Schilling says. Cross-linked across the value chain, BASF profits directly from the transformation process in the Gulf region.
The production from imported raw materials is only a first step. “We already co-operate with the King Fahd University in Saudi Arabia. In the near future we will be able to provide local solutions for regional sales and distribution as well as services directly for and with the customer.” Bahrain could become a stepping stone for the chemical giant.
5,000 Years History Between East and West – Cosmopolitanism is a Tradition
Geographically Bahrain is ideally positioned: Halfway between Europe and Asia, the kingdom is also the Gate to the Persian Gulf. Not for nothing the world’s biggest logistics company DHL has chosen Bahrain as one of its global hubs. Also Holger Tillmann, Deputy Head of Mission of the German Embassy, confirms: “Bahrain is the ideal hub.” Being an island nation, the country has always welcomed merchant sailors and foreigners from different cultures. Archaeologists found traces of trade with China even in the country’s early history. Bahrain's liberal and open minded character is a direct consequence of this history, Tillmann believes — and a welcome change in the region.