Columbia targets 500 vessels for its Middle East management company

Columbia Shipmanagement has ambitious plans to expand its Middle Eastern vessel operations from its base in Saudi Arabia.

CSM Saudi Arabia has grown from 35 offshore vessels at launch in August to more than 100 under some form of management now.

The venture was set up with Khobar-based oil services company Spectrum Group and works closely with giant state oil company Saudi Aramco.

CSM CEO Mark O’Neil

“The door is open for others to join us in any shape or form they want,” said Columbia’s Group Chief Executive Mark O’Neil.

“Our ambition is by 2028 to have 500 vessels in the region under full management- or that we participate in the management and operation of,” he said.

UAE opening planned

CSM Saudi Arabia is opening offices early next year in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, the CEO told TradeWinds. ‘We see that regional participation is really important in our strategic plans,” the CEO added.

“This is not a Cypriot or a German or a global company setting up an office there and sucking back the benefit, it’s a regional business now. CSM Saudi Arabia is an Arabian company,” O’Neil said.

And the venture is not just an offshore model. Tankers, bulkers and container ships owned by other regional clients will eventually be incorporated.

“As it grows, it makes sense to consolidate all our regional tonnage through that office,” O’Neil said.

Indian possibilities

The CEO told TradeWinds Columbia Is also looking at India as a region.

“We see huge potential and value in looking at opening there on the crewing side, he said.

The group is also setting up a state-of-the-art training centre in the Philippines.

CSM bas been pioneering e-learning, but also recognises the need for face to face teachiDg, the CEO explained.

A central plank of its regional growth strategy Is the new performance optimisation control room being set up in Saudi Arabia.

This will be the biggest and most advanced anywhere in the world, the company has promised. “The plans we’ve signed off on are staggering. You can literally beam up a hologram of the vessel in front of you, spin it around and walk Into the rooms. This Is Mission Impossible-type technology, O’Neil said.

“It’s amazing when you see it. Our strapline for the next 10years is ‘Everything is possible.’ The CSM Saudi Arabia control room is the embodiment of that, he added.  

Source: TradeWinds