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REGIONAL REPORTMIDDLE EAST GULF


that reflects the strength of the economy and one that has successfully demonstrated the ability to grow steadily,” said Pinto. Al Faris has invested in 40 new cranes this


year, as well as rough-terrain cranes, trailers, forklifts, reachstackers, gantry systems and other jacking and skidding equipment. It has also increased its staff to 3,200 and is hiring more for upcoming projects. “We continuously invest in the latest


technologically advanced equipment with economic performance resulting in cost savings for our clients,” said Pinto. “Apart from the quality of the equipment, we provide a strong commitment to investment in the development of HSE practices, which is the industry focus in the Middle East.”


Challenges for operators The Middle East is a dynamic and fast-moving region and commenting on its medium to long-term outlook is a challenge, according to GAC’s Nyström. “However, GAC has been in the Gulf for several decades and we are experienced and well positioned to help our customers navigate this evolving market,” he said. GAC was founded in Kuwait in 1956, and Kuwait’s ‘Shipping Licence No.1’ is still displayed at GAC’s office in Al Farwaniya. Early in 2019, GAC announced it was


opening a warehouse and yard in Khalifa Industrial Zone, Abu Dhabi. This facility will serve a wide range of sectors, including oil and gas, manufacturing, construction household effects and specialist equipment. Similarly, the new freight centre in Dubai will serve a range of industries, including its energy and freight customers. “For GAC, and suppliers as a whole, 2019


was a year of gradual and continuous improvement across the region. This reflects a greater certainty of the Gulf continuing to be an important and growing market for several key segments, not least the energy sector,” said Nyström. “However, it continues to be a relatively fragmented market, with more work to be done in terms of integration and cross-border trade. Some sectors are in decline while others pick up, creating an interesting and dynamic picture in terms of customer demand.” It is difficult to give a coherent and


consolidated picture for the region as a whole, as each nation, market and segment is unique and has its own characteristics, Nyström concluded. “In general, the picture is of a region


undergoing a constant transformation as it becomes more globalised and integrated with global supply chains,” he said. Of course there are challenges: Mathew


www.heavyliftpfi.com


For GAC, the Gulf region continues to be a relatively fragmented market, with more work to be done in terms of integration and cross-border trade.


at Fleet Line highlighted ongoing unrest in Iraq, which he said is hampering cargo delivery to project sites, so that contractors have to pay the price on freight for detention and demurrage. “A minor challenge is that due to the lack


of regular breakbulk liner services in the region, most of the cargo is being fixed on tramp services, whereby shippers are paying higher freight [rates].” At Al Faris, Pinto said: “We face a lot of


operational challenges with regards to moving heavy equipment on public access roads. The UAE is enforcing stricter regulations on the timings of access for heavy equipment for good reasons. “With stringent regulations, the need for


planning increases. Documentation with regards to heavy equipment transport and access has to be detailed and approved by the regulatory departments. Due to traffic on public roads, only a couple of hours a day are granted to move heavy equipment, therefore rigging and de-rigging is completed in phases, increasing costs for the overall job. This increases the need to plan and document, and reflects positively during the execution phase of the job.”


Unique hurdles Eyad Arafah, at Almajdouie, said: “New taxes, updated regulations for ports and logistics companies, and a shortage of skilled manpower all present unique challenges.” Almajdouie has facilities in Dammam,


A minor challenge is that due to the lack of regular breakbulk liner services in the region, most of the cargo is being fixed on tramp services, whereby shippers are paying higher freight. – Peter Mathew, Fleet Line Shipping


Jubail Riyadh, Qassim, Rabigh, Yanbu, Jizan, Yanbu and Jeddah, as well as offices in Oman, Bahrain, Abu Dhabi and Kuwait. The company has started to see the results of a strategy put in motion two years ago, including changes in its services, geographical expansion, and an increased operational presence, said Arafah. “We own and operate more than


2million sq m of warehousing and terminal facilities across the GCC, including covered and open yards. Our terminal yard in Jubail is the second largest in the GCC, with over 500,000 sq m of space.”


January/February 2020


HLPFI 119


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