March 17 - Saudi Arabia-based Bahri has officially opened an office for Bahri Logistics in Houston and says it will help to expand its breakbulk and project cargo business through a key US gateway.

Bahri Logistics opened its first US office in Baltimore in 1992 when the main focus was on container shipping and ro-ro cargoes, but the company further strengthened its position into breakbulk and project cargoes four years ago with new vessels capable of carrying cargoes that weigh up to 220 tonnes on deck, or 250 tonnes underdeck.

Steven Blowers, US country manager at Bahri General Cargo said the opening of the office, which starts with a team of eight, will expand the Bahri brand in North America.

"We have been taking steps to diversify and had particularly focused on our operations across North America. Last year, we added a call at Vera Cruz, Mexico to our North America ro-ro liner service and the Houston office will also oversee the company's sales and marketing operations in Mexico."

The new office, which will also cover the line's sales and marketing activities in the US Gulf and South Atlantic, will be headed by Cliff Kuhfeldt, gulf sales manager.

While the office is new, Bahri services have called at the Port of Houston for more than 30 years.

Currently, it operates a service that connects Houston to Saudi Arabia and other major ports in the Middle East Gulf, Indian Subcontinent and Mediterranean Sea that is capable of carrying breakbulk, ro-ro and container cargoes.

The new office will mainly assist companies with exporting cargo for large construction projects to the Middle East. On the import side, it will help customers bring in project materials needed to build LNG and petrochemical facilities in the wider US Gulf area.

Bahri Logistics said it is witnessing an increase in US imports from the Middle East Gulf, much of it related to LNG developments in the USA and the new office should help Bahri Logistics to benefit from an upturn in drilling activity that would lead to increased oil field equipment moving through the port.

The company added that whilst its new office in the energy corridor is home to eight staff at present, it is likely to expand as Bahri grows its local footprint, and may also become home to other businesses within the group such as its chemicals and oil divisions.

"We see Houston as a good hub and we are here for the long term," Blowers concluded.

From left to right: Ricky Kunz, chief commercial officer, Port of Houston Authority; Eng. Ibrahim Al-Omar, Group ceo, Bahri; Sultan Al Angari, consul general of Saudi Arabia in Houston; Steven Blowers, country manager, Bahri Logistics (America).