Ship chandelling solutions for a volatile marketAugust 2, 2022
Mario Pais, general manager of Oceanbizz, talks to The Energy Year about the company’s strategy in providing ship chandelling services to the Angolan oil and gas sector and the benefits of stocking goods and supplies in-country. Oceanbizz provides marine supplies and services including ship chandelling, freight forwarding and logistics.
What are the main benefits of having the capacity to stock goods and supplies in-country?
The main benefits of having the ability to import the right stock of goods and being able to sell lead Oceanbizz to reduce costs, increase sales and new customers, increase customer confidence, improve cashflow, continuously improve operations and secure new investors. Many foreign suppliers and manufacturers offer their services at competitive prices, especially in low-cost regions, and these are very good opportunities as locally we have a huge lack of general supplies now.
How do the company’s new facilities impact your overall operating capacity?
Our new facilities can offer ample storage and full logistical support to our customers. The main advantage of the warehouse is that we have enough space to have different sections for each type of service we offer.
The size of the complete facility is about 3 acres [12,140 square metres] divided into five hangars and includes a yard to store larger types of equipment such as those used in ship-to-ship operations that are difficult to stock in normal warehouses, for example fenders and cargo hoses. We hope with this investment to attract and negotiate with ship-to-ship equipment suppliers to provide their best service in Angola and also to those looking to invest and have a partnership with a local company.
Our facilities allow us to increase our imports and in-country stock of all types of supplies and parts. Most importantly, with our freight and forwarding service we offer our customers the possibility to safely import and store their goods with us at a very competitive price.
How can ship chandlers offer logistics services to suppliers that are already present in Angola?
We are what is called a one-stop shop. The ship chandler company is an indispensable link in the ship management chain that interacts with many parties. A ship chandler negotiates with manufacturers and suppliers, and organises the delivery. As a result, the ship receives all the necessary goods from one partner. This solution allows you to shorten delivery times and reduce the number of people involved in the process.
Ship chandlers offer good discounts when ordering goods and services. Ordering from them is much more profitable than contacting different suppliers. A consequence of high competition is price averaging. Ship chandlers are aware of the current market rates and do not overcharge for services so as not to lose customers.
How has the Oceanbizz portfolio of services evolved lately?
We have made significant progress investing in new facilities to expand our business. Our focus now is to strengthen our services offered, qualifying our team and bringing together suitable technical partners to offer the best solutions. Our main service is ship supply for all types of supplies, deck stores, spare parts in supply chain stores and full logistics support. We are exploring other areas to add more services to our portfolio.
How have your clientele reacted to the market variations of the last few years?
During the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, we have reduced our business and lost customers as we all know that many companies in the oil and gas sector have reduced their operations and some have just cancelled their contracts. It was a very difficult time with tremendous instability for the whole world. Currently, we can see that the market trend is very positive and since the beginning of 2022, our operations have been increasing and we are very optimistic about what is to come.
What are the main challenges associated with the Angolan market when establishing relationships with suppliers?
There are no local suppliers for what we buy. We import almost everything to meet our customers’ needs and run the business. Most technical items and services cannot be purchased locally. We are continually looking for suppliers and technical partners to guarantee the best solutions in a volatile market, which is a very risky challenge, as Angola does not offer legitimate guarantees as in other European countries.
Angola is an interesting country, but many international companies have lost faith in the market, which presents great opportunities combined with many stories of failed businesses. This is a double-edged sword; it is difficult for both parties to feel secure.
However, gradually, suppliers and technical partners are increasingly interested in work in Angola on consignment. While our clean track record gives some comfort to our potential investors, they do not feel comfortable or secure investing in Angola. We are making a huge effort to pay cash for all the equipment without any financial support, and that is not easy.
How might local content help domestic companies have a more active role in procurement activities?
With local recruitment, training and development of local staff, procurement of local goods and services – which are designed to develop industrial infrastructure and people skills in countries hosting oil and gas projects.
There are many private companies whose training and development programme policies are investing heavily in their employees, which will protect long-term performance, vs. those who haven’t spent/invested in their people like the many companies who will only protect themselves with compliance training alone.
The country would need to establish employment equality legislation, which would provide an advantage in identifying Angolan nationals duly qualified to occupy crucial positions. We also have to look at the fact that there is the aggressive disease of nepotism, which still has a huge impact on private and public organisations based in Angola.
With regard to training, Angolan companies still do not invest enough in training, also due to the fact that skills development legislation has not been established, thus having a negative impact on the development of human capital in the companies themselves.
What is the company’s strategy for gaining a greater market share and diversifying vessel supplies?
Our strategy for gaining market share is the ability to import and store locally all types of supplies – where we ensure higher quality standards, confidence in products and services delivered at a competitive rate in a volatile market – which will attract more customers and help widen the customer base and increase sales.