September 30 - Bahri intends to develop and expand its business in the American market, with the opening of a second US office in Houston, Texas.
Steven Blowers, Bahri's country manager in the USA, explained that the new office will house eight staff and cover the US Gulf, South American and Mexican markets. "We are focused on expanding in the Gulf, where a number of our large customers are located."
"It is a fairly competitive market, but we are looking to invest in the downturn," noted Blowers, adding that the company is looking to recruit new blood into the industry.
Bahri was also recently enrolled into the United States Coast Guard's (USCG) Qualship 21 programme, which enables the Saudi Arabian company's vessels to benefit from faster clearance at US gateways and should give the carrier enhanced market credibility.
In the general cargo business, Blowers explained that Bahri has achieved record profits in spite of the challenging environment. The carrier operates six con-ro vessels, with lifting capacities of 120 tonnes, as well as ramps with load capabilities of up to 250 tonnes.
Blowers told HLPFI that its focus in the US market would lie in working with forwarders, engineering, procurement and construction contractors (EPCs) and other shippers to increase its high and heavy shipments to and from the Gulf.
"The mining machinery market is not as buoyant as it has been," said Blowers, adding that the truck and automotive market in Mexico is looking promising.
"Construction projects in the Middle East continue to be at the core of our business, predominantly in Saudi Arabia."
In North America, Bahri is looking particularly at gaining cargoes related to upcoming LNG projects in the region, with its liner service that runs from the Gulf Coast to the Middle East and India via the US East Coast, Canada and the Mediterranean.
"Our strategy is to focus on strengthening our transport and logistics capabilities in the general cargo business, with the backing of Bahri's network behind us," added Blowers.