March 2 - Wilhelmsen Ships Service (WSS) is keen to extend its reach in South America amid predictions that industry growth will focus on the offshore sector.
WSS area director, Henrique Schlaepfer said: "South America continues to be an area of concentrated investment for WSS. Over the last year we have put in place a new management team with responsibility for almost 200 employees, operating in key positions in Brazil, Colombia, Chile and Argentina."
According to Schlaepfer, core activities for WSS within South America are focussed around a very strong agency structure.
"WSS now has offices and agents situated in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, Venezuela and the South American Islands. In addition, we have expanded our technical services capacity, enabling us to provide an end-to-end service at practically every port. We plan to extend this coverage into 2013 with Montevideo, Lima, Santos and Guayaquil added to the existing structures in Rio, Valparaiso, Macaé and Buenos Aires."
Since 2009, Wilhelmsen Ships Service has opened a base at Ponta da Madeira in the Amazon Region of Brazil to accommodate mineral segment demand as well as agency services in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Chile. In addition, five separate locations in South America are preparing to provide ships services from WSS to the ro-ro, dry bulk and general cargo markets.
The company says that in sharp contrast to its presence within the region less than four years ago, WSS no longer relies solely on the North American market, with South America today representing 20 percent of the regional business.
Concluding, Schlaepfer says that the offshore market has as much potential for growth over the next five years as it does within the rest of the world."Wilhelmsen Ships Service has huge potential within Brazil and South America in general and my mission is to realise this potential and ensure that we are meeting the demands of our customer now, and in the future."