Maritime & Ports Middle East Power 20 List
Welcome to the second annual Maritime & Ports Middle East Power 20 List - a ranking of the region’s most influential executives from the shipping, ports, shipbuilding and logistcs sectors.
There was a lot of big deals and good news stories coming out of the GCC’s shipping and ports industries over the last 12 months.
In fact, the region has witnessed incredible growth across all sectors in recent years, with many port operators, ship owners and ship builders from the GCC growing their brand name internationally to become global players.
They owe a lot of that success to the vision and determination and influence of their leaders.
The top 20 of these executives have been selected by a panel of industry experts and have been included in this list.
They have been selected because they are the most influential and successful in their field, playing a vital role in shaping their respective industries in this region and beyond.
Ranking the chairman of a port operating company against the managing director of a ship building yard or the CEO of a shipping company is always going to be a very difficult task and no doubt some people will be disappointed.
However, we assure you we have tried our best to bring you a balanced account of who we believe are the major movers and shakers in maritime and ports in the GCC and hope the list sparks debate amongst those in the industry.
We also hope it encourages more people to get involved when we revisit the power list next year. It was very encouraging to see more people contribute to this year’s list and we always welcome your input.
Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem
Chairman DP World
President Dubai Maritime City Authority
As the head of the DP World and the President of the DMCA Sultan Bin Sulayem is one of the most recognised and influential buisnesmen in the region.
Over the last 12 months, Bin Sulayem has led DP World through one of its most successful periods, during which port operator handled 60 million TEU across its global portfolio of container terminals.
During the same period shareholders of DP World approved the $2.6bn purchase of Economic Zones World and most recently the company said it has plans to invest a further $1.9bn this year.
It was one of many achievements seen through by Bin Sulayem who since taking over as Chairman in 2007 has played an instrumental role in DP World’s growth and helped, through a series of acquisitions, placing Dubai and the UAE on the international map in line with the vision of the country’s leadership.
DP World is now a global leader in international marine terminal operations and development, logistics and services, and has a portfolio of more than 65 marine terminals across six continents.
Bin Sulayem has over 25 years’ experience in the marine terminal industry and is also the Chairman of Port & Free Zone World FZE.
President and Chief Executive Officer
United Arab Shipping Company
Jørn joined UASC in 1994 as Chief Operating Officer and was appointed as President and Chief Executive Officer in 2009. He also serves as Chairman/Director on several UASC subsidiaries.
Over the past few years, Jørn led UASC’s comprehensive restructuring and transformation program leading to remarkable improvements in efficiency, an enhanced network, and multiple new service offerings.
He currently oversees UASC’s ambitious newbuilding program that includes seventeen ultra-large container vessels that are among the largest and most environmentally friendly in the world.
Over the years, Jørn has led the efforts to establish and develop alliances and partnerships most recently culminating in the formation of the Ocean Three alliance, connecting UASC with leading liner shipping companies CMA CGM and China Shipping Container Lines. With the addition of the new cooperation agreement with Hamburg Süd, Jørn continues to lead UASC’s progress as an emerging global carrier.
Group Director and General Manager
Peter Richards is a qualified Master Mariner with a Diploma in Nautical Science and a vision that has helped take Gulftainer from its Sharjah base to the world.
He joined Gulftainer in March 1987 and prior to his current position held the positions of General Manager, Operations Manager, Terminal Manager and Operations Superintendent within the Company.
Under his leadership Gulftainer has diversified from simply a port operator to a fully comprehensive logistics supplier and a globally recognised international port operator with an annual throughput of over 6 million-teu’s.
He has expanded Gulftainer’s global footprint into Europe, Russia and the South Americas and used the reputation earned in its home ports to export Gulftainer’s capabilities, experience and productivity world-wide.
Engr. Ibrahim Abdulrahman Al-Omar
As the new head of Saurdi Arabia’s National Shipping Company, CEO Engr. Ibrahim Abdulrahman Al-Omar has quickly become one of the most imrpotant figures in the GCC’s shipping industry.
Al-Omar’s appointment could not have come at a better time, he is now in charge of the region’s biggest shipowner, just as the company enters a new phase following its merger with Vela.
The merger was the biggest in Saudi Arabian history. It has turned Bahri into a globally recognised player and Al-Omar wants to use the momentum, along with the company’s expanded fleet, to achieve the first of Bahri’s major goals, which is to become the exclusive VLCC crude oil shipping provider to Aramco.
Sheikh Ali bin Jassim Al Thani
Chairman & Managing Director
Since his appointment in 2009, Sheikh Ali bin Jassim Al Thani, the Chairman and Managing Director of Milaha, has overseen the merger of three major Qatar-based maritime players – Qatar Navigation, Qatar Shipping and Halul Offshore – to form a multi-faceted shipping, maritime services and logistics company.
Over the last year Milaha has continued to grow across all sectors, while also signing new contracts with the likes of Muntajat and securing new long term financing.
Sheikh Al Thani leads a company, which has more than 3,000 employees and has full ownership of 90 vessels that are divided amongst its business units with the bulk of it dedicated to the Petrochem and Gas units followed by the offshore services and maritime and logistics units.
Khamis Juma Buamim
Drydocks World and Maritime World
Drydocks is riding on a wave of success brought about by a flurry of recent contracts, including one to build the world’s largest rig.
It owes a lot of that success to its chairman, Khamis Juma Buamim, a charismatic leader who took the reins in 2010 when the company was struggling and quickly turned things around by changing its focus to offshore construction and the energy sector.
Buamim has over three decades experience including as President and CEO of Regional Clean Sea Organisation and various management positions, including Vice President of Dubai Petroleum Company, a ConocoPhillips affiliate company in the United Arab Emirates.
He has a degree in Business Management and Economics along with various outstanding accomplishments and certifications including the National Management Certification in the Incident Command Systems from Texas.
Khalid Al Falih
President and CEO
Leading the push behind the landmark merger of Vela International Marine Limited, a subsidiary of Saudi Arabian Oil Company with the National Shipping Company of Saudi, Bahri, Saudi Aramco CEO Khalid Al Falih was influential in the creation of one of the world’s largest shipping companies.
Having spent his entire career at Aramco, Al-Falih has served in key leadership positions across the organisation and has driven continued expansion of the company’s business portfolio into new areas of operations.
Al-Falih, who was named to the Saudi Aramco Board of Directors in 2004, also serves on the Saudi Arabian Supreme Council of Petroleum and Mineral Affairs.
He has a degree in mechanical engineering from Texas A&M University and an MBA from the King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals in Dhahran.
Mohamed Juma Al-Shamisi
A seasoned maritime executive with over 17 years in the industry, Mohamed Jume Al-Shamisi, the acting CEO of the Abu Dhabi Ports Company recently oversaw the completion and commissioning of the $7.2billion Khalifa Port and first phase of Kizad which combine to form one of the region’s largest state-of-the-art ports and industrial zones.
In 2014 Khalifa Port posted a 26 per cent year-on-year growth in container volumes. Al-Shamisi has been a key figure in developing and directing the strategy and operations of ADPC’s portfolio of maritime and industrial zone assets.
Prior to his current role, he held key leadership positions including Executive Vice President for the ADPC Ports Unit, as well as in his early career having served as a Harbour Master.
Tarik Al Junaidi
Oman Shipping Company
AWith the development of port infrastructure in Oman, the country’s shipping sector is set for good growth in the coming years. The Oman Shipping Company, led by its CEO Tarik Al Junaidi, is well positioned to take advantage of this forecasted growth.
Al Junaidi oversees OSC’s 30-strong fleet, which is valued at close to $600m and includes tankers, bulkers and LNG carriers. The company is currently expanding its fleet to help support Oman’s growth in exports and Al Junaidi is keen to pick up more tonnage.
Having recently branched out into petrochemicals, tanker vessels and bulk carriers, OSC’s growth is set to reach new heights in the coming years. It also anticipates strong growth in handling bulk cargo and Al Junaidi believes OSC will continue to play a key role in helping Oman make the most of its strategic advantages as one of the region’s major transshipment hubs.
African and Middle East Region
APMTAPM Terminals, an independent division within the A.P.Moller-Maersk Group, is coming off another successful year with further growth expected for its already impressive portfolio, which includes 69 terminals and ports in 40 countries.
One region targeted for further growth is the Middle East, where APMT is led by its regional CEO Peder Sondergaard, an experienced executive with over 25 years with the A.P Moller-Maersk group.
Sondergaard is responsible for operations in 13 port and terminal facilities in 12 nations spanning Western Africa, the Persian Gulf and Sri Lanka, including its newest addition, the Khalifa Bin Salman port in Bahrain along with operations in Oman’s Port of Salalah and the Aqaba Container Terminal in Jordan.
Martijn Van de Linde
Abu Dhabi Terminals
Martijn Van de Linde was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Abu Dhabi Terminals in 2010.
He has been instrumental in leading ADT’s key operations in Abu Dhabi, including Mina Zayed, Freeport and Musaffah.
Van de Linde also played a vital role in the establishment of the recently opened state-of-the art flagship Khalifa Port which was opened in 2012 when all container traffic was transferred from the city centre port Zayed Port.
Van de Linde has over 15 years of international port management experience.
Before joining ADT, Van de Linde was Chief Executive Officer of the Port of Salalah in Oman. He has also held the post of Vice President of Global Operations with APM Terminals and was Terminal Manager for the Port of Tanjung Pelepas in Malaysia.
Sheikh Talal Al-Khaled Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah
Kuwait Oil Tanker Company
As the CEO of the Kuwait Oil Tanker Company, Sheikh Talal Khalid Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah has played a pivotal role in helping the company through Phase 3 of it’s fleet renewal programme.
The plan includes an order for nine newbuild tankers, many of which have already been delivered and which are helping KOTC towards owning one of the most modern tanker fleets in the world.
Sheikh Talal Khalid Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah has been won several awards in recognition of his achievements at the company, as well as the numerous positions he filled throughout the years in Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC) and its subsidiaries.
Recently the Kuwait Oil Tanker Company also signed a partnership agreement with the leading Danish environmental protection system manufacturer, Pres-Vac Engineering, according to a report.
Rashed Al Hebsi
As the CEO of the GCC’s first classification society, Rashed Al Hebsi faces the challenging task of making TASNEEF competitive against the more established global players.
Having just registered their first ever vessel late last year, TASNEEF will initially operate in regional markets although Hebsi’s vision includes future world-wide expansion.
The UAE and wider GCC has experienced a bulge in shipbuilding and purchases recently, giving TASNEEF a great platform from which it can grow into what Hebsi hopes will be the most effective and efficient provider of marine and offshore classification services in the region.
He says the primary mission of TASNEEF is to serve the UAE’s interest, as well as the needs of its clients by promoting the security and safety of life and property, and protecting and preserving the environment.
United Arab Chemical Carriers
Per Wistoft is the Chief Executive Officer of United Arab Chemical Carriers. Mr Wistoft joined UACC in September 2013.
Wistoft’s previous position was as Chief Executive Officer at Brightoil Shipping Pte Ltd in Singapore. Prior to this, Mr. Wistoft served as CEO and Managing Director of Gulf Navigation Holding (a Dubai stock-listed tanker owner) respectively Transpetrol in Belgium.
Wistoft holds a Masters in Business Administration and brings over 30 years of Commercial and Managerial experience and expertise to UACC.
Wistoft is Danish and resides in Dubai.
SOHAR Port & Freezone
SOHAR Port Chief Executive Officer Andre G.F. Toet, born 1963 in The Hague, Netherlands.
After leaving the Willem Barentz Maritime Institute, Andre joined Nedlloyd Lines in 1986 where he worked for a number of years on the bridge as Mate and Nautical Officer.
After his sailing career, he worked for a number of Nedlloyd Group subsidiaries in senior positions in The Netherlands, Sudan, Thailand and Hong Kong. Following the merger of P&O Group and Nedlloyd Lines, Andre became Managing Director of P&O Nedlloyd Europe in 2000. And following a takeover by Maersk, he was promoted to CEO of Maersk Central Europe. In 2008, he was appointed Chief Operating Officer of the Port of Rotterdam.
As well as his current role as CEO of Sohar Industrial Port Company, he also holds the position of non-Executive Director of Electronic Shipping Solutions Malta. Andre is married, has two daughters and now lives and works in Oman.
Abdullah Al Sulaiti
Abdullah Al Sulaiti is the Managing Director of one of the world’s leading LNG transport companies. At Nakilat he oversees an ultra-modern fleet that is estimated at close to $6billion and includes 19 of the 20 most valuable vessels in the world.
Last October, the operator of the world’s largest LNG fleet, reported a 25 percent rise in net profit for the first nine months of 2014. The shipowner said it achieved net income $190m and said the strong improvement in the performance of its LPG fleet contributed significantly to the improved results.
Al Sulaiti joined Nakilat in February 2011 as Deputy Managing Director. Previously he had been Shipping Manager at Qatargas from 2006 to 2011. Prior to that he had held a variety of shipping-related positions at Qatargas after joining the company in 1997.
Yong Duk Park
Oman Drydock Company
Oman Drydock Company CEO Yong Du Park has worked hard to make the shipyard, which was launched in 2011, a major player in the region and he feels confident it can further unleash its potential to become one of the leading shipyards in the world for new build, conversion and repair after completing its first major conversion contract and 300thdrydocking.
The $1.5bn shipyard, which is one of the biggest and best equipped in the world is based in the new ports and logistics city of Duqm. Late last year ODC announced it had completed it’s 300th dry-docking, the conversion of Greek-owned crude oil carrier Olympic Luck at a special ceremony at the shipyard.
Korean-born Park has also been pushing ODC forward in its campaign to become one of the leading shipyards in the world for LNG repairs while utilising his strong network with Koran companies such as shipbuilding giant DMSE, which is one of ODC’s partners.
Red Sea Gateway Terminal / Saudi Trade & Export Development Company
Under the leadership of its CEO Aamer Alireza, the Red Sea Gateway Terminal, the latest terminal at Jeddah’s Islamic Port in Saudi Arabia, has rapidly established itself as one of the most productive in the region.
Alireza is the CEO of RSGT and its affiliate, the Saudi Trade & Export Development Company. He is also on the board of its parent company, the Saudi Industrial Services Company.
His depth and breadth of expertise has served to identify and evaluate new opportunities, and to create world-class businesses by attracting specialised industry talent and partnering it with high calibre players.
His vision is not just to build a world-class container terminal at Jeddah Islamic Port, but also to create a broad-based business cluster to serve as a logistics hub for the Western Region of Saudi Arabia.
Group Chief Executive Office and Founder
Tristar Group of Companies
Eugene Mayne has 38 years of professional experience in the UAE and has full P&L responsibility for all Tristar Group activities, spanning Surface Transport, Ocean Transport, Fuel Farm Management, Turnkey Fuel Operations, Commercial Aviation Services and Specialised Warehousing for the petroleum and chemical industries.
Established in Dubai in 1998, Tristar has grown under the guidance of Mayne to become a diversified Liquid Logistics player which operates in 15 countries spread across the ME, Africa, Asia, the Pacific and Central America. The company employs around 2,000 people.
Tristrar has recently reinforced its position as a major UAE ship owner with an order for six new MR tankers being built at Korean ship builder Hyundai for a total cost of $200m. The ships are expected to be leased on long term charter to oil Majors who are the company’s core customers. The company also owns and operates the largest fuel farm in the Pacific region with a 4-million barrel storage facility on the Pacific island of Guam.
Ship owning and chartering operations commenced in 2004 to offer a seamless service to customers across the globe to connect and manage fuel cargoes at both load and discharge ports. Tristar owns and operates a diversified fleet portfolio consisting of ocean going vessels and coastal barges, in addition to the river barges for transportation of fuel by inland waterways.
All vessels are managed by oil major approved-vessel managers, who support fleet operations on a day to day basis and provide technical expertise to ensure that all vessels remain in compliance with both local and international Marine safety standards.
Nils Kristian Berge
As the latest CEO of ASRY, Nils Kristian Berge has set about making ASRY, the Arabian Gulf’s most experienced ship yard, competitive against the many newcomers in the region.
Berge has vowed to streamline the yard’s efficiency, lead it to greater stakeholder value and consolidate ASRY’s reputation so that it remains a source of pride for Bahrain and the Arabian Gulf. He has placed heavy emphasis on a department dedicated to military projects in an effort to increase ASRY’s share of the lucrative naval market in the region.
Just last month, ASRY signed a $33 million ship repair block agreement with Kuwait Oil Tanker Company (KOTC) that includes the exclusive maintenance rights to 19 vessels over the next two and half years.
Berge says that between now mid-2017, KOTC will send 14 oil product tankers, 4 LPG tankers, and one OSV to ASRY for regular dry-dock maintenance works.
Berge has over 25 years of international maritime experience and detailed insight into the workings of ASRY over his time as Commercial General Manager.