In a region that has seen such transformative change in recent years, transport and logistics have become vital to the Middle East’s economic growth and prosperity. And while oil still remains a viable source of wealth, it is the diversification undertaken by regional governments that has funneled investment into alternative sources, thereby alleviating the strain incurred by falling hydrocarbon prices.
Politically stable and secure, fiscally diverse, and aspirational, Dubai is the crown of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the gateway to the Gulf and beyond. It is an Emirate that has successfully invested a huge amount of sovereign wealth into its maritime industry, with Oxford Business Group (OBG) sources forecasting an overall sector worth $66 billion by 2018. Driven by the Dubai Maritime Vision 2030, as well as the Emirates Maritime Arbitration Centre (EMAC) and Dubai Maritime City, Dubai is quickly becoming a shipping epicenter for the region and beyond.
When International Registries, Inc. (IRI), which provides administrative and technical support to the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) Maritime and Corporate Registries, first opened its Dubai office in 2009, it had two (2) employees. Captain Amarjit Kauchhur, Vice President, Middle East / Regional Manager was one of the pioneering team members and commented,
“At the time the office opened, only some in the region had heard of us as it was a period dominated by the open registries of Panama and Liberia. We took it slowly at first, using our worldwide network and extensive research to encourage a sustainable growth strategy and create relationships through careful marketing and event attendance.”
We are now the second largest registry in the world and I am proud that the Dubai office played a big part in that.
Today, over 15 million gross tons (GT) of the RMI fleet is from the Middle East region. This includes not only tankers, but also bulk carriers and offshore support vessels. The office is involved in around 30 inspections a month across the Middle East region and responds to a constant stream of technical questions from ship operators.
“We work with many of the region’s biggest names and provide them with a hands-on, personalized service,” says Captain Kauchhur.
The office now employs nine (9) maritime professionals and is well known in the region, providing an array of services to its customers, including vessel registration, inspections, technical advice, and dispensations. The team includes a former Master Mariner and Chief Engineer, as well as administrative staff; this is a team that represents the maritime world in experience and expertise.
Jolene Thomas, Vessel Registration Manager, is proud of her eight (8) years at IRI:
“Dubai is a unique environment that we understand very well. Our experience here has allowed us to make great relationships in the industry, meaning that we can stay well informed of regulatory and legislative changes for our customers.”
“I am incredibly confident in our ability to treat every job with professionalism and expertise, as we can always rely on IRI’s global presence in over 27 offices worldwide”.
Anil Jain, Safety & Technical Manager, supports this:
“As the Middle East is a very oil rich area, this creates a whole set of different difficulties that we have to be prepared for. But that is why we are so effective; we can utilize our worldwide presence to operate in any time zone, offering help and advice whenever it is needed.”
“From arranging regional inspections to issuing extensions and dispensations for life-saving and firefighting equipment, I feel prepared and confident in dealing with any issues that may arise.”
Being part of the wider IRI family is obviously important for the day-to-day running of the office. Yet, IRI’s Dubai base also enjoys a certain autonomy that enables a distinct local knowledge; regional solutions for regional problems.
“Our reputation, quality, and unique service model speaks for itself. That’s why when we meet customers we can stand behind the services promised and often receive such compliments from new owners and operators,’” says Captain Amarjit.
We work in an intelligent way that makes us approachable, the industry understands that we value synergy, and that our client-centric style is engrained deep into our values.
And this people-centric approach extends to the office’s working environment. Jolene says:
“It is a fairly small and close-knit office, and this means we all have plenty of support from our co-workers and managers. Everyone feels good when we register a ship, for example. We are proud of our collective efforts within IRI, but also as the Middle East contingent of the world’s second largest registry.”
Together, IRI Dubai is helping to elevate the industry in the Middle East providing services and solutions that streamline its growth into the future. At the same time, this small team is making a big impact on the reputation of IRI as a whole, delivering the work-ethic, customer service, and industry knowledge that the shipping world has now come to expect.
As the region continues to evolve amongst the tumultuous challenges and changes that confront a rapidly growing economy, the shipping industry will grow with it. And as long as that happens, IRI will be there to enable smoother, faster, and more cost-effective service solutions.