Sharjah-based international ports management company Gulftainer played host –and sponsor– to the inaugural Port Finance International Middle East Conference, which was held from 6 to 7 December 2011 at the headquarters of the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI).
The opening keynote speech for the conference was delivered by HE Abdullah Al Saleh, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Trade for the UAE, and a variety of presentations were delivered on the finance, investment, and port and logistics environments in the region and beyond, including one by Gulftainer Group Commercial Manager, Keith Nuttall.
Building on the success of PFI events around the world (recently held in London, Istanbul, Singapore, Mumbai, and Copenhagen) the inaugural Port Finance International Middle East Conference highlighted current trends and challenges in financing port infrastructure development, and investigated, analysed and provided guidance on the latest developments, investments and future plans in the strategically positioned Middle East region.
Over two days this conference brought together key industry experts from the Port and Terminal industry and from the Banking and Legal world to provide delegates with an in-depth understanding of innovative financing solutions and practical advice. It also provided an excellent opportunity to meet potential equity and business partners, as well as senior executives from port authorities, port and terminal operators and the legal and banking industries to discuss finance options and development requirements.
Speaking of the importance of the event, Gulftainer Group Managing Director, Peter Richards, said, "The ports, terminals and shipping industries are undergoing major changes as they seek to move forward in a straitened financial climate and with revenues under pressure and costs rising. This event presented highly qualified speakers showcasing the latest shipping, port and investment developments, at a time when the world's economies are facing unparalleled challenges. As the inaugural Port Finance International Middle East Conference, the event was a resounding success, and the participants look forward eagerly to the next event in the region".
Helping participants in the conference to get a clearer picture of rapidly changing events were, amongst others, Gulftainer, the National Bank of Abu Dhabi, Merrill Lynch, IFC, RSGT, Port of Salalah, Qatar Ports, Clarksons, and Abu Dhabi Terminals.
Gulftainer Group has 35 years experience operating in the UAE and around the world. In addition to operating three UAE ports: two on behalf of the Sharjah Port Authority - Sharjah Container Terminal (SCT) and Khorfakkan Container Terminal (KCT); and one in Ruwais, Abu Dhabi, on behalf of the international plastics company, Borouge, Gulftainer also operates and manages a number of projects and investments in several countries, including Iraq, Pakistan, Russia, Brazil, Africa and Turkey, with other ventures worldwide currently being evaluated. Gulftainer’s logistics subsidiary, Momentum Logistics, was established in 2008 to take over the Group’s transportation and logistics business and has offices throughout the Middle East.
Peter Richards joined Gulftainer in March 1987 and during his 26 years he has helped steer the company from unknown local, private terminal operator onto an international platform with an annual through- put of over seven million TEUs, a staff over 4000 and a reputation for yielding the highest levels of productivity to benefit the company's clients.
Gulftainer's recent acquisition of a majority shareholding in Saudi Arabia's GSCCO means the company will now operate the Northern Container Terminal (NCT) on the west coast of Saudi Arabia, Jubail Commercial Port (JCP) and Jubail Industrial Port (JIP) on the east coast. Through this acquisition, Gulftainer not only operates the highest number of terminals in the Middle East, but is also the only terminal operator in the region which provides access for shipping lines into the entire Middle East through the Mediterranean Sea, Red Sea, Gulf of Oman and Arabian Gulf.
Today the firm manages ports and logistics businesses in several countries, including the UAE, KSA, Iraq, Pakistan, Russia, Brazil, Lebanon and Turkey.
A New Era
When the Gulftainer company was first established in 1976, it was a modest and humbles business operating from their home in Sharjah, but little did they know that today, 37 years on, they would become one of the largest privately owned port operators in the world.
These recent years have been remarkable for Gulftainer with the addition of new facilities in Iraq, Brazil, Russia and Lebanon; however, with the latest purchase of Gulf Stevedoring Contracting Company (GSCCO), based in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the company portfolio has been elevated to new heights, to become the largest port operator in the Middle East.
In addition to its port facilities, Gulftainer operates freight and transport services at inland container depots (ICD) and logistics cities, through its third-party logistics (3PL) subsidiary, Momentum Logistics, along with joint venture interests across international territories, including Pakistan and Turkey. Momentum is now seeing continual organic growth in its own right. However, it is those humble origins that have allowed Gulftainer to grow in the manner it has; developing an industry wide reputation for the delivery of guaranteed levels of productivity and the assemble of a strong customer-focused team with well-rounded industry experience.
This is an exciting journey for Gulftainer, which is looking forward to strengthening its presence in Saudi Arabia in the coming years. The company truly believes that the quality and capabilities they are bringing to the management and operation of the local ports in the Kingdom will be invaluable to the growth of the nation.
Twenty five years ago Gulftainer operated just 4 ships to shore gantry cranes and by the end of 2013 will have the potential to operate over 75. Twenty five years ago Gulftainer employed a staff of 125; by the end of 2013 Gulftainer will manage 40% of all Middle East ports.
A true success story born out of Sharjah.
Port management and logistics specialist Gulftainer has declared it has opted for Nexthink via its partner Anzemato to realise its plan to hit new growth targets by improving its IT infrastructure.
Gulftainer’s aim is to reach 35 terminals across five continents and handle around 18 million TEUs by 2020.
The ambitious project requires streamlined IT operations, with Nexthink, an end-user IT analytics specialist for security and workplace operations, meeting Gulftainer’s requirements.
The partnership means that Gulftainer will have total visibility of its IT environment, having the capacity to monitor changes on a daily basis to ensure safe and efficient port operations, as well as third-party logistics.
Vinay Sharma, group IT manager at Gulftainer, said of the move: "Real-time analytics from Nexthink brought significant benefits to Gulftainer and facilitated us to establish a more proactive IT support system that we did not have before.”
“We are able to implement compliance standards, IT governance, application standardisation, application use and real-time visibility of our IT infrastructure. Nexthink allows us to strengthen internal security, identify problems quickly and help support teams to provide faster response, lower-cost support while improving end-user satisfaction," Sharma added.
- Middle East’s largest terminal operator set to exceed current growth targets
- Expands 2013 operations by 50 percent
Gulftainer, the largest terminal operator in the Middle East by number of terminals operated, expanded its operations by 50 percent in 2013 with increased investments in overseas interests and operations.
During the course of the year, Gulftainer accomplished a significant throughput of 6 million TEUs at its terminals. This achievement reinforces Gulftainer’s position as one of the leading operators in the Middle East and supports its goal of handling 18 million TEUs and operating 35 terminals across five continents by 2020.
Across the Middle East in 2013, Gulftainer’s facilities in Iraq and Saudi Arabia witnessed double digit growth and continued to gain momentum as markets expanded due to improved infrastructure and investment prospects. In Iraq, Gulftainer, which currently operates two container berths in Umm Qasr, anticipates an influx in new business opportunities this year as a result of the opening of the newly built 750,000m2 Umm Qasr Logistics Centre.
In Saudi Arabia, following the acquisition of Gulf Stevedoring Contracting Company (GSCCO) in June 2013, Gulftainer Company Limited achieved 34% growth at the Jubail Container Terminal, and saw the import markets grow by 10 per cent.
In the UAE, Gulftainer achieved a healthy three percent increase in cargo throughput over the last year. Its Khorfakkan Container Terminal (KCT), despite a slower year-on-year growth due to the loss of cargo impacted by the international sanctions, has grown at an average of 6.5 % per annum over the last five years. In Lebanon, Gulftainer has begun civil works to develop facilities within the port of Tripoli and aims to start handling vessels by the end of the year.
On a global level, growth in Brazil has been significant with the first container traffic being handled in the Port of Recife in more than a decade. Trade is expected to grow significantly in the coming months as extensive investment and expansion plans are undertaken by the port authorities at Recife.
“The overall growth achieved in the last 12 months has exceeded anything we’ve done in previous years, said Peter Richards, Managing Director of Gulftainer. “We are at an exciting stage where we are being invited by port authorities to enter and establish our facilities in new territories. We are keen on extending our expertise in domestic and international markets to meet our growth strategy and are continuously reviewing new projects. We are confident of meeting our goals and with the long-term investments we fully intend to develop our market share and continue to break expansion records as we go.”
Gulftainer, the port management and logistics group headquartered in Sharjah, UAE, has named Peter Ford as its Group Chief Operating Officer (COO).
Peter Ford joins Gulftainer from his last position at APM Terminals where he was appointed to oversee the Port of Salalah as its CEO.
In his new role he will be based in the UAE and will focus on Gulftainer’s international operations and developments.
Peter Richards, Gulftainer’s Managing Director, said, “Gulftainer has experienced exponential growth in the last twelve months. As one of the leading port management companies in the Middle East, we are well-positioned to expand in our local markets and to develop through new opportunities. Peter Ford’s appointment is in line with our goals to extend our footprint across regional and global markets in the near future. His successful track-record in global terminal management will be a huge asset to the team.”
Previously, Peter Ford has held a number of managerial positions within APM Terminals, including most recently the positions of Chief Operating Officer for APM Terminals European Region and Head of New Product Development project. His job experience includes postings to Jamaica, USA as well as the Netherlands.
Fluent in Dutch, German and English, Peter has a B.Sc. in transportation from the United States Merchant Marine Academy and an MBA from University of Phoenix, USA.
Port management and logistics company Gulftainer has rolled out Nexthink IT monitoring solutions to help it manage its IT infrastructure.
The company chose the Nexthink solutions to support ambitious expansion plans to grow to reach 35 terminals across 5 continents and handle 18 million TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) by 2020.
Nexthink partner Anzema deployed the solutions, to give Gulftainer complete visibility of its IT environment and will be able to monitor daily changes in the development of its IT activities to ensure safe and efficient port operations and third party logistics. Furthermore, Nexthink will help Gulftainer to reduce the large number of PCs and applications currently being used in its business, thereby offering significant cost savings to the company.
"Real-time analytics from Nexthink brought significant benefits to Gulftainer and facilitated us to establish a more proactive IT support system, that we did not have before," said Vinay Sharma, Group IT Manager at Gulftainer. "We are able to implement compliance standards, IT governance, application standardization, application use and real-time visibility of our IT infrastructure. Nexthink allows us to strengthen internal security, identify problems quickly and help support teams to provide faster response, lower-cost support while improving end-user satisfaction," Sharma added.
"At Gulftainer, we prioritize efficiency and security compliance in our Global IT operations," said Ramesh Shivakumaran, Group Director Business Services. "To consistently achieve best-in-class performance, our IT infrastructure and endpoints must be permanently available to ensure the continuity of business services delivered to our end-users and customers around the world."
Ahmed Seleem, Regional Manager at Nexthink said, "An efficient and robust IT infrastructure is crucial for complex operations such as those run by Gulftainer which has a large number of end-users in various locations, such as administration or customs. With Nexthink, Gulftainer has the advantage of being able to monitor each and every IT activity from a single interface in real-time. This offers Gulftainer significant cost savings and reduced downtime, ensuring that its customer service outperforms competitors."
"We are proud to support Gulftainer's vision to achieve best-in-class performance and expansion. The visibility and real-time IT analytics provided by Nexthink allows Gulftainer to easily detect the issues in its IT environment and prevent problems even before they are reported," added Esslam Ibrahim, Vice President at Anzema.
When Gulftainer Company Limited was first established in 1976, it was a modest and humble business operating from its home in Sharjah. It is those humble origins that have allowed Gulftainer to grow in the manner it has; developing an industry wide reputation for the delivery of guaranteed levels of productivity and the assembly of a strong customer-focused team with well-rounded industry experience.
The past 37 years have been a remarkable journey for Gulftainer; with the addition of new facilities in Iraq in 2010, and Brazil, Russia and Lebanon in 2012, but it is the recent acquisition of Gulf Stevedoring Contracting Company (GSCCO), based in Saudi Arabia, which has elevated the company to new heights. Gulftainer now operates 8 terminals in the Middle East - more than any other operator in the region.
In addition to its port facilities, Gulftainer operates freight and transport services at inland container depots (ICD) and logistics cities, through its third-party logistics (3PL) subsidiary, Momentum Logistics, along with joint venture interests across international territories, including Pakistan and Turkey.
Twenty five years ago Gulftainer operated just 4 ship to shore gantry cranes and by the end of 2014 will have the potential to operate over 75. Twenty five years ago Gulftainer employed a staff of 125; by the end of 2014 this will have grown to well over 4000, and by the end of 2013 Gulftainer will be managing 40% of all Middle East ports.
A true success story born out of Sharjah.