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Khalifa bin Salman Port (Mina Khalifa)

Most goods enter Bahrain through Khalifa bin Salman Port (Mina Khalifa) in the Hidd Industrial Area, Bahrain’s main import/export hub. In Arabic, the term “Mina” means port or harbor. Most ports are also referred to by using Mina – before its name. So, for example, Port Khalifa (in Abu Dhabi) is also known as Mina Khalifa. The port is located in northeast Bahrain, approximately 13 km from Bahrain International Airport and 55 km from the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia. Since beginning operations in 2009, the Khalifa Bin Salman Port has established itself as a leading transshipment hub in the region.

U.S intelligence agencies concluded in the spring of 2021 that China was secretly building what they suspected was a military facility at a port in the United Arab Emirates. Satellite images had indicated that the Chinese were building some military installations at the port, after which the Biden administration reached out to UAE, urging the country to stop the ongoing construction, WSJ reported. In November 2021 alarmed US officials warned Emirati government, a Mideast ally, that Chinese military presence could hinder ties; construction halted. According to US officials quoted in the report, Biden had told the UAE Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, that the US feared China’s activity could have a detrimental impact on the partnership between US and UAE, to which the Prince replied that he had heard Biden “loud and clear”.

CNN reported that "US intelligence has observed ships disguised as commercial vessels that officials recognized as a type typically used by the Chinese military for signals intelligence collection entering the port, according to two sources familiar with the intelligence."

Senator Jim Inhofe wrote 19 November 2021 "I was honored to meet with His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, and others during my visit in June about our mutual concern regarding Chinese military activities in the Middle East. I pledged during that visit to work closely with the UAE to ensure that our bilateral relationship moves forward – and I am thrilled with this development today. I look forward to making sure the Biden administration continues productive conversations with our Emir."

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The adjacent Bahrain Logistics Zone has the potential to make the Kingdom a major air-sea cargo hub and a center for industrial development. The Government offers a number of incentives to attract foreign direct investment to this customs-free zone. Bahrain benefits from good road infrastructure, providing the ability to transport throughout the region with easy access to other Gulf markets. The much larger economy of Saudi Arabia is located just a 25 km drive away across the King Fahd Causeway.

Khalifa port began operations in 2012, and is located between Abu Dhabi city and the financial centre of Dubai where the region’s largest transshipment port Jebeli Ali is located. As the flagship port in Abu Dhabi, Port Khalifa (AEKHL) is one of the largest deepwater harbors in the world. Located near the Taweelah offshore port, it is currently under construction and aims to be completed by 2030. It is part of the Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi (KIZAD) that serves the Emirates of Dubai and Abu Dhabi and stretches out to sea on a reclaimed island. The Industrial Zone covers over 400 square kilometres and generates significant cargo and container traffic.

Port Khalifa is aimed at replacing cargo operations from Mina Zayed and has already begun handling container vessels diverted from Port Zayed. The proposed construction has been divided into 5 phases. Phase 1 was launched in 2012 following the inauguration of the port in September. Phase 2 was launched in 2013. These phases will be completed by 2020 and 2021 respectively and will double the current container handling capacity.

Khalifa bin Salman Port (KBSP) which opened for business on April 1, 2009 is well positioned to be the premier transhipment hub for the Northern Gulf. Located on 110 hectares (ha) of reclaimed land, the port has a 1,800m quay which includes a 900m2 container terminal served by four 61m post-Panamax cranes, as well as general cargo, ro-ro and passenger facilities. KBSP’s strategic location in the middle of the Arabian Gulf, together with its deep-water berths and approach channel which enable it to accept the largest oceangoing container vessels, and its direct overland links to the mainland (Saudi Arabia and Qatar), position the port as a major regional distribution center.

Located in Hidd Industrial Area, the port is only 13km away from the Bahrain international Airport and is linked to Mina Salman, the old port, by a 5km purpose built causeway. Access to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia via the King Fahad Causeway is a mere 30km drive. Under the management of private operator, APM Terminals, a global terminal operator, the port is one of the most modern in the Gulf, able to handle container vessels with an efficiency matching that of the most productive ports in the world. The Ports & Maritime Affairs supervises and regulates the port’s functions in line with the concession agreement.

Dredging activity has created a 16-meter-deep harbour. As it is an artificial island, port Khalifa is connected to the mainland by a causeway that is located off the Ras Ghanada Coral Reef. The port will have a 7.4 km quay, 22 container berths, 63 general cargo berths, and 6 dry bulk berths. It is fully equipped with customs, immigration, inspections, and security services. Capt. Mohamed Juma Al Shamisi, Group CEO of Abu Dhabi Ports commented that "Khalifa Port continues to expand and innovate to meet the diverse needs of our business partners, while driving forward the UAE’s economy and its strategic partnership with China, its largest non-oil trading partner".

Cosco Shipping Ports on 29 September 2016 entered into an agreement with Abu Dhabi Ports to build and operate a new container terminal at Khalifa Port. On 03 July 2021, CSP Abu Dhabi container terminal, the first greenfield project of COSCO SHIPPING Ports Limited (CSP) operating within Abu Dhabi Ports’ flagship deep-water port Khalifa Port, has announced its terminal will be the first in the Middle East to implement an autonomous port truck system. Following a two-month trial period, a total of six electric Q-Trucks will be commissioned by CSP Abu Dhabi Terminal and tasked with supporting mother vessel loading and unloading activities within the facility’s container yard.

Produced by Qomolo, a sub-brand of ShangHai Westwell-Lab Technology Company, the L5 Autonomous Freight Trucks are equipped with an advanced 360-degree sensory system with traffic monitoring and driving guidance system which enables operators to direct vehicles’ navigation and transportation of general and reefer containers with ease. The use of smart automation is another key step forward for one of the world’s most technologically advanced ports. Moving forward, CSP Abu Dhabi and Khalifa Port will continue to explore other potential applications for AI-powered solutions within terminal and port operations.

When fully completed, the port will have about 32,000m of total berthing space for container and general cargo vessels. The first phase of the project opened to vessel traffic in 2012. The port is approached through a 12-mile long 250m-wide buoyed deep-draft approach channel, marked by lighted buoys and dredged (2017) to a depth of 18.5m. The harbor basin is dredged (2021) to depths of 18.0 to 18.5m. The EMAL Jetty, used for the import of alumina, has a total berthing length of 800m, an alongside dredged depth (2017) of 18m, and can accommodate two 60,000 ton vessels. 15.19 Deep-draft vessels should use the Deep-Water Route, which passes close NE of Southern Anchorage Area B, about 1 mile SW of Khalifa Port Fairway Lighted Buoy, before joining the dredged channel.

Seven designated anchorage areas are located in the approaches to the port. The Northern Area, which has been designated A1 through A4, has a minimum depth of 16.1m and is suitable for large vessels, long-term stay vessels, and vessels awaiting further instructions. The Southern Area, which has been designated B1 through B3, has a minimum depth of 16.1m and is suitable for smaller vessels or short-stay vessels waiting for a pilot.

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Page last modified: 21-11-2021 18:54:56 ZULU