Integrated shipping services in QatarDecember 24, 2018
Daniel Nordberg, general manager of GAC Qatar, talks to TOGY about the benefits the country’s shipping sector has seen from the blockade, competition in the local market and digitalisation in the sector. GAC Qatar provides integrated shipping and logistics services.
GAC Qatar provides integrated shipping and logistics services. The company offers a one-stop shop for oil and gas customers and can handle the full scope of business in-house. GAC Qatar was awarded the shipping agency licence in Ras Laffan in early 2017. This has allowed the company to be one of the few companies able to offer full agency services and handle all types of calls in Ras Laffan. GAC also offers customers a range of shipping and logistics services at the port.
• On digitalisation: “Digitalisation allows us to continuously seek ways to improve our services to our customers and helps to boost our efficiency by reducing documentation, turnaround times and the printing of paperwork. Having all relevant documents and information available at a single location gives quicker access to GAC employees and customers.”
• On new shipping lines: “A lot more containers are coming in through the sea ports and connectivity to the rest of the world is improving. For instance, container volumes at Hamad Port has doubled since the blockade and it is expected to handle an average throughput of more than 1.2 million teus this year [in 2018].”
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To what extent has the blockade been a blessing in disguise for the country?
The blockade has been a catalyst for the country to develop more local businesses and services, as well as attract new ones into the state. The government is also looking into solutions to accommodate the vessels and the clients coming into the country.
Has the blockade opened up more shipping lines to Qatar?
Definitely. A lot more containers are coming in through the sea ports and connectivity to the rest of the world is improving. For instance, container volumes at Hamad Port have doubled since the blockade and it is expected to handle an average throughput of more than 1.2 million teus this year [in 2018].
What makes Qatar an attractive market for GAC and how do you remain competitive in a price-driven environment?
Qatar is an attractive market for GAC as it is the world’s largest LNG producer and has major oil and gas projects in the pipeline. We’ve been able to tap into new markets, especially in the oil and gas sector, with our licence in Ras Laffan [GAC Qatar was awarded a shipping agency licence in Ras Laffan in early 2017].
Even though the oil price is rising, there is still price pressure. GAC Qatar offers integrated shipping and logistics services, including ship agency, Customs clearance and yard services, for the oil and gas sector and we have the resources and local know-how to provide all services in-house; there are not many companies that can do that. This allows us to provide a cost-effective tailored service package for our customers. We also distinguish ourselves through our high service level, customer-focused solutions, reliability and ability to deliver 24/7.
The upstream oil and gas industry has been impacted by new technologies helping to increase efficiency and reduce costs right across many sections of the energy chain – how has digitalisation positively impacted GAC’s activities?
Digitalisation is an ongoing priority for GAC and a key area is the quality of data in the systems especially when supporting the complex oil and gas industry. Our IT systems are integrated with our customers’ for greater efficiency and visibility, and this means that data on both sides of the chain needs to be accurate.
The demand for quality data has forced us to be even stricter and more professional in our operations, enabling us to develop very good SOPs (standard operating procedures) internally and clear service level agreements (SLAs) with our customers.
Digitalisation also allows us to continuously seek ways to improve our services to our customers and helps to boost our efficiency by reducing documentation, turnaround times and the printing of paperwork. Having all relevant documents and information available at a single location gives quicker access to GAC employees and customers.
Given the strong investments across the board, do you expect demand for logistics providers’ services to increase?
I believe oil and gas activity will be on the upswing with the investments the country is making in the sector, and so will the demand for services.
How do GAC’s operations in Qatar differ from those around the region?
GAC has an excellent set-up across the Middle East handling oil and gas clients regionally. We are continuously investing in people, assets and technology to our customers’ needs and are committed to complying with the group’s high compliance and ethics standards and stringent health, safety, security and environmental policies.
In Qatar, we have around 30,000 square metres of warehouse and 200,000 square metres of yard spaces, part of which is specialised for oil and gas.
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