The Business Year

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World-class infrastructure and a favorable and predictable policy framework are two reasons why Dubai continues to be the go-to choice for shipping companies looking to expand or relocate.

Nitin Mehta

CEO, Tomini

Tomini moved to Dubai because it is a vibrant maritime hub, and its time zone enables us to stay in contact with several major shipping locations across different continents. Moreover, Dubai’s infrastructure is second to none. This enables a company to concentrate on its own activities and not deal with extraneous administrative, communication, and logistical hassles. Another reason why we relocated was to merge our offices. Previously, we had offices in Dubai, Pakistan, the UK, and Denmark. We still have our office in Denmark, but we merged our Pakistan and London offices with Dubai in 2004. We keep our fleet young, so every year we order new vessels and continue to expand. More environmental standards are being implemented, and these changes are more frequent and expensive. Tomini’s growth strategy is to have 25 ships by 2025; today, we have 15. When it comes to projects like the Belt and Road initiative and infrastructure developments, there are many commodities that need to be moved, and the need for dry bulk will increase. Our growth is fueled by such infrastructural developments.

Rashid Isa Rishi Al Heddi

Group Managing Director, Seamaster Maritime

We always wanted to have different pillars of business so that we can be flexible. First, we started as an agency, then we developed our logistics arm, followed by ship owning and performing ship-to-ship (STS) transfers. We now own five multipurpose crew-supply vessels. We operate in the UAE and Oman. We are also looking at the greater Gulf region. We also have global clients in Brazil, the US, the UK, Europe, India, China, Hong Kong, and Singapore. We will likely expand our fleet. Doing so will allow us to offer new services and augment existing ones. We are a conservative company, and our growth came from the fact that we have diversified our operations and risk across different sectors. The government has introduced policies that will help support the ecosystem. These include eco-friendly policies and policies with a focus on safety. We are all focused on what is working and what can be done to make operations better. This is one of the reasons why it was good to start in Dubai. The government is focused on supporting businesses. With this support comes growth.

Ramee Rashid

Director, Ramee Rashid

Our bread and butter has always been the shipping agency or ship husbandry, which includes looking after vessels. Being a smaller, family-run agency, we do not have the reach that other companies have, but we make up for this by offering customized services. Though some of the services requested by our clients were beyond our reach, we invested in areas such as warehousing, logistics, trucks, and personnel to improve our offering. Then, these services grew into thriving revenue streams. In July 2019, the federal tax authority gave the maritime sector further exemptions from taxes, which shows that the government is open to growth in the UAE’s maritime sector. Additionally, they are re-writing the maritime law, which should be ratified sometime in 2020. In terms of innovation, we are constantly upgrading ourselves. We have to keep up, and we are investing in brand-new systems and software. These tools are being made specifically for our business to give our principals and vendors access to the portal. We allow 24/7 access and real-time updates, reinforcing our efficiency and quality. We are also constantly training our staff.

Keramat Shahrokhi

Managing Director, Dark Blue Shipping

Business was slow for much of 2018, though the market picked up again in 2019. While it is difficult to pinpoint exactly why, one explanation is that markets in the GCC are linked, and upticks in one market have positive regional knock-on effects. We expanded into Oman in 2017 and have experienced healthy growth there. We hope the market in Dubai improves. We do see many orders, especially from East Asia and China, and we have new clients in Europe and the US. Most of the shipments we handle are in fact in transit, going from one country to another. Shipments arrive here and are forwarded to Iraq, Oman, and Afghanistan. The cargo segment requires one to deal with many different authorities. All the different shipment companies and airlines have different customer requirements. We are extremely confident in the business we have secured from the maritime sector in Jebel Ali. However, we do not expect to see much coming via air since more companies are using global shipping companies like DHL and FedEx. That is why we shifted away from air to sea.



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