MANAMA: Projects worth nearly $11 billion were showcased at the 11th Gulf Industry Fair (GIF) that concluded yesterday.
These included Alba’s $3 billion line 6 expansion project as well as oil and gas projects worth about $6bn led by National Oil and Gas Authority (Noga) – the biggest of which is the Bapco modernisation programme.
The three-day event has been hailed as the Northern Gulf’s leading specialist business-to-business (B2B) event for industrial products and services, with most of the 90 exhibitors reporting either leads or orders as well as greater access to Bahrain’s market and huge business opportunities available in Saudi Arabia.
The exhibitors represented a wide-range of the sectors from aluminium, industrial processes and manufacturing, metals, energy and environmental protection, ports and maritime to training and safety.
Organised by Hilal Conferences and Exhibitions (HCE) at the Bahrain International Exhibition and Convention Centre (BIECC) under the patronage of His Royal Highness Prime Minister Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa, the Gulf Industry Fair attracted thousands of business visitors, an increase compared with last year’s edition.
HCE managing director Jubran Abdulrahman said that featuring interviews and information about participating companies, the Virtual Exhibition – available at www.gulfindustryfair.com – would prolong exhibitor exposure in the online community long after the three-day show concluded.
This builds on the overwhelming success of the Virtual Exhibition experience launched at the show four years ago, he said.
According to him, going by initial reports the number of visitors has resulted in more yield in terms of footfall per square metre.
“An event like this is specialised and we are not looking for thousands of people but for the right people wanting to do business,” Mr Abdulrahman said.
“The feedback from participants is very positive with most of them wanting to return next year.”
Mr Abdulrahman added he was pleased to note that the event had proved to be the ultimate business enabler for the Northern Gulf’s industrial sector yet again.
He said the organisers were hopeful of more regional and international participation next year.
This year’s edition was held against a backdrop of a challenging macro-economic environment regionally.
“Despite a regional economic slowdown caused by low oil prices in recent years, ongoing investment in the GCC’s industrial infrastructure remains strong,” said Mr Abdulrahman.
“Notably, Saudi Arabia’s long-term 2030 Vision is likely to be a key driver of the Gulf’s industrial ambitions in the coming years, as the region’s biggest economy accelerates diversification efforts,” he said.
He said HCE was always looking to add value to participants and boost the return on their investment.
Exhibitors said events like the GIF help the local and regional industries increase business volumes and enhance collaboration.
New technologies and processes seen at the fair could be a major contributor to boosting the industrial sector and support the national drive towards growing the non-oil economy, they added.
Participants at the show were upbeat about the industrial sector which they said has great potential for further growth.
“The show reflected our efforts in highlighting key regional industry segments which have been contributing to the economic growth.
“These companies know where the business opportunities are for them, and it is clear that they feel that the Gulf Industry Fair can provide access to these business opportunities.”
This year’s edition enjoyed the strategic support of Alba, Bapco, Noga and Bahrain Investment Wharf.
The industrial facilities sector was championed by Majaal.