Wilhelmsen Ships Service (WSS) has opened its first office in Myanmar (formerly Burma) as part of its global expansion programme.
Since Burma has opened up to foreign investment following recent political reform, WSS has made plans on how to offer its customers a direct service from inside the country. The company has concluded the time is right to play a role in shaping Myanmar’s ports, shipping and offshore service sectors.
Myanmar is rich in natural resources and activity in the offshore and energy sector is growing rapidly. Bjorn Tonsberg, WSS Vice President, Asia Pacific says: “With borders to China, Thailand, India, Laos and Bangladesh, Myanmar has strategic regional importance. We have been looking to expand into the country for some time, but it was necessary to wait until the market conditions were favourable. This is a high-growth market and we believe that the right time is now.”
“The market does not expect to see a significant increase in vessels calling at Myanmar this year. However; increased exploration activities are expected in the offshore and energy industry with the continued presence of oil and gas majors. Also, there are signs of increased trading with Japan, Europe and the US.”
Following the official opening earlier this year, the WSS office is now operational. To ensure that the needs of clients in the country are fully met, the company has brought in Business Development Manager Wai-phyo Naing.
Mr Naing says: “Cost saving and the availability of supplies in their home port of Yangon is the main priority for most of our customers. With this in mind, we are pleased to be able to offer a service ‘on the ground’ in Myanmar.”
“We are currently building up our infrastructure in order to effectively offer our products and services to the government-owned fleet of just under 25 vessels, as well as oil majors operating in the area and international customers calling at Yangon Port.”
In addition to these customers, WSS Myanmar will also service oil field support vessels and Traders and Charterers seeking ships agency services.
In terms of future plans, Mr Naing will also be looking towards the safety service market, with demand for Fire Rescue and Safety (FRS) services and liferafts likely to increase over the coming months. He says:
“The local market is highly competitive, but we are confident that the WSS global network, our high levels of local presence and support, as well as wide range of high quality marine products and services and environmentally compliant products will allow us to meet, and indeed, exceed, customer requirements.”