Much needed structural adjustments in the offshore sector could take years to complete, the president and CEO of diverse Qatari shipowner Milaha tells Maritime CEO today in our regular Friday shipowner interview slot.
Abdulrahman Essa Al-Mannai has been in the top job at Milaha for nearly 18 months now.
Previously he led commercial planning at Qatargas. Fortunately for him, he presides over a very diverse fleet so while the vagaries of the offshore downturn have of course impacted Milaha’s bottom line, other business lines have helped shore up the company.
Milaha currently fully owns and operates a fleet of 82 vessels which range from container feeder vessels and offshore support vessels to tankers and gas carriers. In addition, it also owns and operates a fleet of harbour support vessels as well as having stakes in four very large gas carriers (VLGCs) and seven LNG carriers.
The most recent addition to its fleet was the Milaha Explorer, a liftboat, with a large deck area as well as the ability to accommodate 300 persons onboard.
“As part of our multi-year strategy, we continuously seek opportunities to create and deliver a stronger value proposition to our clients through the introduction of new services and offerings and fleet growth,” Al-Mannai says.
He admits that 2017 will continue to be “challenging” for the shipping industry with the continued vessel oversupply and subdued demand.
“For the offshore industry,” Al-Mannai observes, “there is a pressing need for structural adjustments which could take years to complete.”
“For Milaha, however,” he argues, “the growing trade volumes and ongoing economic growth of our home country, Qatar, will help offset the global trends to some extent.”
Milaha’s container feeder business recently launched the KDX service, the first ever direct common carrier feeder service between Saudi Arabia and India. It comes less than two years after the company launched the first direct service between Qatar and India.
“Both services have the potential to reshape trade patterns between the Gulf region and the Indian Subcontinent, and will support trade growth between the two regions,” Al-Mannai claims.
In its ports business, Milaha has formed a jointly-owned company, QTerminals, which will manage phase one of Qatar’s new Hamad Port as part of its activities.
Milaha also established an office in Singapore in 2016 as part of its efforts to expand its oil and gas sector offering to cater for the Southeast Asian market in specialised offshore services.
“We will continue to pursue opportunities to expand our footprint both locally and abroad, as we did in 2016,” Al-Mannai concludes.