New online services unveiled to streamline business operations

MANAMA: Even as some logistics business owners say documentation and shipment clearing is plagued by delays, Bahrain’s Port and Maritime Affairs within the Transportation and Telecommunications Ministry has unveiled an array of online services that aim at enhancing efficiency and streamlining business owners’ endeavours.

During a virtual forum themed “Development of transportation and logistics in Bahrain” organised by Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) jointly with the Transportation and Telecommunications Ministry, some business owners complained that the authorities were a bit slow in responding to emails and some cargo clearances were taking three-four days, instead of one day as promised.

Transportation and Telecommunications Ministry assistant under-secretary for ports affairs Bader Al Mahmood expressed pride in the ministry’s co-operation with the chamber and affirmed “Holding this forum comes in a bid to exhibit the measures taken by the ministry in co-operation with the National Taskforce to combat Covid-19 to ensure the smooth flow of operations in light of the coronavirus pandemic and highlight the efforts exerted to ensure seamless trade.”

He said that the ministry had been working closely in partnership with APM Terminals, the operator of the Khalifa Bin Salman Port, in keeping Bahrain well-supplied, bringing in 99.5 per cent of consumer goods and helping the country sustain through these challenging times.

The port has been functioning at 100pc capacity, he said, as all stakeholders had stepped up to the challenge of keeping the economy going with our commitment to keep Bahrain connected to international markets, businesses and the local community and by transporting vast array of goods and commodities to meet the demands of local businesses (for industrial and manufacturing purposes) and consumer requirements (for daily essentials, food and medical supplies).

BCCI chief executive Shaker Al Shater expressed pride in the ministry’s relentless co-operation with the chamber, and commended the efforts exerted to facilitate operations, cut procedures and streamline trade.

He voiced pride in Bahrain’s standing with regard to the quality of transport infrastructure, and stressed the significant contribution of the sector to the gross domestic product, which amounted to 8pc in the fourth quarter of 2019.

The forum was concluded with a number of recommendations, key among which was the importance of expediting the completion of the new causeway linking Bahrain to Saudi Arabia, and expanding the online services of the ministry to augment end-user benefits.

BCCI’s commercial markets committee chairman Abdulhakim Al Shammari told the GDN that the impact of Covid-19 on Bahrain’s economy has been widespread.

“One of the major disruptions has been in construction material supply. Cement, tiles, girders etc are not coming as before and this has slowed down projects,” he said.

Mr Al Shammari also called for the reopening of the Saudi causeway as soon as possible as the closure had devastated the tourism and transportation sectors.




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