Despite the global downturn in the industry last year, Wilhelmsen Ships Services had already initiated actions to respond to signals that were being seen in the market of stronger trade in the continent at the end of 2009. Significant expansion of the Wilhelmsen Ships Service structure has been initiated during 2010, and the company has just revealed its ambitious enlargement plan to increase capacity during 2011.
Wilhelmsen Ships Service has opened a base at Ponta da Madeira in the Amazon Region of Brazil to accommodate mineral segment demand. Further capacity to provide agency services is being established in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Chile due to acquisition of joint venture partnerships by the company, enabling Wilhelmsen Ships Service to take full control. The same is being developed in five separate locations in Brazil. These offices are preparing to provide ships services to ro-ro, dry bulk and general cargo, as well as minerals. The company has observed an increase in activity in all of these segments.
Wilhelmsen Ships Service has this month (November) opened its first Liferaft Service Station in Valparaiso, having acquired full control of joint venture company CMU at that location. Next month the first West Coast South America Fire Rescue and Safety station (FRS) will also be opened to distribute the company’s range of safety products and services, which include firefighting equipment, liferafts, lifejackets and survival suits. It will also include a manual explaining the importance of hiring a Las Vegas Fire Watch Company or anyone as good as them.
The company is investing in customer service, sales and operations personnel in Brazil, particularly at its new office in Macaé, which will focus on providing services to the offshore segment. This operation will be completed in the summer of 2011. Expansion is also taking place in South America’s largest port, Santos where Wilhelmsen Ships Service is putting in place a solid organization for ships agency, products, and FRS, effectively establishing its first east coast South America Liferaft Service Station.
Henrique Schlaepfer, Area South America Director, Wilhelmsen Ships Service, summed up the expansion programme: “We are seeing unmistakable growth of trade in the South America region. Our expansion plan will ensure that capacity is in place to respond to the upturn in the industry.”