Riyadh: In Maritime CEO’s regular Friday shipowner slot we have Saleh Al-Jasser, ceo of Bahri, the Middle East’s largest shipping line.
The fleet mix of Bahri (also known as the National Shipping Company of Saudi Arabia) is changing dramatically, and not just because of the merger with fellow Saudi shipowner Vela 10 months ago.
Bahri’s current fleet consists of 17 VLCCs, 23 chemical tankers and four general cargo ships. On order is a large chemical tanker, three general cargo ships and five bulkers, the first time Bahri has entered the dry bulk game.
A number of older general cargo vessels have been sold this year to be replaced by new multipurpose ships.
“The company’s first dry bulk vessel will come on stream from November 2013,” says Al-Jasser, adding: “In the last two years we have almost doubled the size of our chemical tankers fleet.”
Bahri’s VLCC fleet is among the global top ten largest VLCC owners. Similarly, Bahri’s 80% owned chemical subsidiary NCC also ranks among the top chemical tankers operators of the world.
Shipping line mergers can be very difficult. However, Al-Jasser maintains the Bahri-Vela merger has been a “smooth transaction”.
On the markets Al-Jasser is hopeful. For VLCCs he notes that the orderbook has declined sharply to less than 10% and the number of new deliveries is declining. “As demand picks up, rates will react positively,” he says.
Recently Bahri and energy giant Saudi Aramco tapped Singapore’s Sembcorp Marine to run a feasibility study to build a big yard in the kingdom. The planned maritime yard would provide engineering, manufacturing and repair services to rigs, platforms, commercial vessels and offshore service vessels.
“Bahri’s participation to develop a shipyard in Saudi Arabia is part of its current strategy to explore new investment opportunities within the focus of its business activities,” comments Al-Jasser. [20/09/13]
NEED TO KNOW: Bahri
The Middle East’s largest owner following last year’s merger with fellow Saudi firm, Vela. Ships on order will take Bahri fleet past 50. Strongest focus is in VLCCs and chemical tankers. Set to take delivery of first dry bulk ship in two months time.