Monday, September 2, 2013

Shipping Freight is Now Less Dangerous as Anti-Piracy Group AdvanFort Expands Operations

Ocean Borne Security Patrols Are Here to Stay
Shipping News Feature

GERMANY – US – Whilst many in the ocean shipping community are concerned with falling freight levels there are always sectors which prosper whilst others struggle. Currently the rise of liquefied natural gas (LNG) recovery and transport is proving something of a boom area for shipbuilders but there are smaller niche markets related to global logistics which can account for increased trade, sometimes as a direct result of the misfortunes of others, as evidenced by the growth of US based anti-piracy outfit AdvanFort.

Although the pirate situation in the Indian Ocean is vastly improved compared with a year or two ago this is solely due to the unique combination of tactics employed by the maritime community, the diligence and cooperation employed by the combined naval forces in the region, the use of Best Management Practices by the bulk of shipping transiting the danger areas, and last, but certainly not least, the presence of trained security personnel on many of the pirates choicest targets.

Piracy however is not contained just in one geographical area, with raised danger levels for crews operating in and around the Niger Delta and in certain areas of Asian waters there is no end in sight to a reduction in armed guards, aboard or in convoy with, shipping moving through dangerous seas, and last week one of the leading companies in the field of vessel protection announced it had opened an office in Hamburg, Germany, as part of its growing customer service network, particularly aimed at clients in Europe.

Time difference was a crucial factor in the company’s decision to expand European operations and AdvanFort president, William H. Watson, said the move meant additionally that real-time face-to-face meetings are now possible to discuss critical issues, continuing:

“AdvanFort has made a substantial investment in the future of our clients in Germany and the rest of Northern Europe by inaugurating our office in Hamburg, the maritime crossroad in that region, thus ensuring that we are closer to our customers. Our move into Hamburg comes as we have named Axel Tuetken, former Maersk Line country president in Japan, as our Vice President for Sales and Business Development.”

For his part, Tuetken underlined the fact that the opening of the Hamburg office comes hand in hand with AdvanFort’s creation of a robust sales team in the Asia market, at a time when, as the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) recently revealed, Southeast Asia is the region reporting the highest number of pirate attacks whilst the company is also stepping up efforts to deliver a wide range of maritime security services to ports and vessels in the increasingly troubled Gulf of Guinea.

This latest move means that the group now has recently committed to a much wider market having recently significantly buttressed its Asian presence with the opening of Tokyo, Singapore, and Seoul offices and also the establishment of a permanent business presence in Istanbul, Turkey. Mr Tuetken continued:

“AdvanFort’s reputation for offering a growing number of clients’ best-practice services at an affordable cost, forms the backbone of our continued efforts to help protect the free and peaceful flow of commerce around the world.”

In other security news, shipping companies are being advised to consult with regard to employing suitable assistance when passing through the Suez Canal following the weekend attack on a container vessel as reported here.