Managing to be the best

Red Sea Marine Services (RSMS) is a ship management company based in Jeddah, along the west coast of Saudi Arabia. Its services encompass technical, crew and port services as well as a minor sideline in diving maintenance. Its primary customer is also its parent, the Bakri Group, but the company also counts a wide range of third party clients in its roster including oil majors from across the world. As its reputation grows, so do prospects and it is currently looking to expand its services even further abroad than the Red Sea region it serves today.

The Bakri Group is a Saudi-based collection of companies such as Albakri & Sons Holding, Alkhomasia Shipping & Maintenance, Bakri Navigation Company, Bakri International Energy, and The Card Company, most of which participate in or rely on the maritime industry. RSMS was initially founded to provide management support to the group; based within its headquarters, it makes use of experienced staff to deliver high quality handling of the Bakri Navigation Company’s oil tankers. Its success at this quickly brought attention from outside the group.

RSMS today counts 18 tankers and 20 offshore vessels under its management, and with many of these belonging to the Bakri Group it represents the largest single family-owned fleet in the Red Sea region. All of these ships have been constructed during the past 20 years: a modern fleet is important to RSMS because it counts reliability and safety excellence at the top of its own demands. These 38 vessels range in size between 7000 and 105,000 deadweight tonnes.

Late 2011, RSMS added a brand new communications system to its fleet to improve the symmetry of its business. Three of the vessels in its portfolio were awarded a 60-month contract for the @SEAdirect Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) developed by marine communications expert Marlink. With increasing demand in the Middle East for more advanced marine technology, the 1024/256 kbps unlimited internet satellite connection offered by this new communication system displays RSMS’ commitment to its clients. It is also an ideal outcome for Marlink, who now have a foothold in a region it had not previously had much presence.

As a company that believes in leadership, technical excellence and its people as a means of achieving the goals of its clients, the @SEAdirect VSAT will be a key component in furthering RSMS’ services to its customers. The full scope of its management services includes technical management and crewing, risk analysis, docking, hull cleaning, consultancy as well as the acquisition of chartering and safety equipment. It also carries out regular inspections on a monthly or quarterly basis with its own technical engineers, with detailed reports including images returned to the owner so they can remain updated on the quality of the ship. All of these services are backed up by ISM certification.

However, RSMS also offers port management and stevedoring services. Its offices handle documentation and clearance services whilst it works with port authorities to provide clients with reliable onshore manpower. Loading/offloading, export, processing, warehousing and repackaging activities are all undertaken and RSMS works closely with investors to ensure operations are properly financed to a high standard.

The company’s niche diving services are a small but important business stream that offers: in-water class surveys, propeller polishing, underwater hull cleaning, underwater damage assessments, blanking of seawater intakes, underwater welding and patching, sealing of stern gland, and general maintenance duties. RSMS, using its well-developed network of dive support vessels, co-ordinates with the ship to ensure that divers arrive on location at the right time and complete work as efficiently as possible. Every year thousands of underwater activities are successfully carried out by RSMS, pushing it to the forefront of the market.

Supported by the Bakri Group, RSMS has continued to deliver its services even during low points in the market. The ongoing demand for oil has played a part in ensuring that business, despite an impact, business has remained profitable. A pro-active approach to the market, in pursuing new clients, has also seen RSMS retain its position at the top of the Red Sea region’s market.

As the market cycle begins to pick up again over the next few years, RSMS is thus in an excellent position to capitalise on new opportunities. The Red Sea, with the Suez Canal at its north end, is of course a crucial passageway for the maritime industry and RSMS’ excellent reputation will attract new customers. Furthermore, it is also looking to expand its presence further afield, first covering more of the Red Sea region but with a long-term vision of expanding globally. With the skills and experience it has gained during the last 15 years, this seems a very realistic prospect.

New communications system
Technical and crew management
Part of Bakri Group