FinTech Focus

Get a Lift at the port!

July 11 - 17, 2018

Gulf Weekly Get a Lift at the port!

THE kingdom’s FinTech sector was given a lift this week in more ways than one with news that APM Terminals Bahrain has introduced a new digital dynamic as part of ongoing efforts in improving customer experiences at Khalifa Bin Salman Port (KBSP) in Hidd.

The company, whose banner reads ‘lifting global trade’, has gone one better by introducing an online customer portal, selecting Bahrain as one of their first two pilot countries globally for the launch of LIFT.

It is aimed at making transactions at the port easier, efficient, transparent and more cost effective to the land side customers in Bahrain and which is considered to be a major step in digitalising and facilitating logistical services. 

Mark Hardiman, managing director of APM Terminals Bahrain, said: “With supply chains becoming global, technology is having a major impact on improving accessibility and efficiency for the port sector.

“We are committed to invest in KBSP’s digital future to support Bahrain’s transportation and logistics sector-growth. These easy to use services will ensure we deliver unparalleled port coverage and improved products and services to our customers.

 “The launch of LIFT online services marks a new digital chapter in our container operations, enabling us to integrate new technology and capabilities into our traditional processes in order to service our customers better and ease how they do business with the port. We’re excited to offer this these services to our customers.”

The advanced portal was inaugurated by Minister of Transportation and Telecommunications, Kamal bin Ahmed Mohammed, at a recent hotel ceremony held at the Wyndham Grand Manama attended by high level officials from the sector.

The LIFT portal also allows customers to directly track and trace their cargo real-time, check status of their shipments/vessels, schedule appointments such as deliveries and destuffing of containers, pay online and receive their invoices online, with 24/7 availability of support.

By enabling customers to access these services online, this eliminates the need for agents to be present in person, saving time and related costs. It also creates transparency of readiness of their shipments, available slots which helps better planning by the importers.

The minister praised APM’s continuous efforts in introducing advanced digitised systems to improve and facilitate the ports’ user experience and operations and for selecting Bahrain as one of the pilot countries.

Samrat Raj, country manager, Bahrain, Mastercard, said: “Bahrain’s e-commerce sector is booming, and we’re seeing a growing demand for commercial solutions that streamline processes and drive business efficiencies.

“Bahrain’s ambitions to become a more digital and cashless society is buoyed by initiatives like these and we commend APM Terminals on the launch of LIFT and their dedication to driving business in the kingdom.”

To ensure that LIFT meets the needs of the customer community in Bahrain, APM Terminals Bahrain engaged with selected customers from various categories, who have provided their ‘feedback and valuable suggestions’ at various stages in its creation.

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APM Terminals Bahrain is a joint venture between APM Terminals Bahrain International and YBA Kanoo Holdings of Bahrain. Established in 2006, the company operates the port and provides marine services within Bahrain and its coastal waters.

Its location makes it an ideal choice for carriers’ trans-shipping containers to the upper Gulf region, particularly the markets of Kuwait, Iraq and Saudi Arabia.

The mighty 207m-long APL Dalian container ship was among the first to make an operational call to KBSP in 2009. The facility, also known as Bahrain Gateway, took around five years in the building. At the time GulfWeekly reported how APM Terminals, one of the biggest port operators in the world, had invested $62million in the project.

Standing on reclaimed land at Hidd, the facility occupies a 900,000sqm site which, although around the same size as the old Mina Salman facility, has vastly expanded capabilities. Its storage capacity is more than double that of Mina Salman, which was 45-years-old, and the increase in water depth from 10.5m to 15m enabled docking of larger ships.

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