VMS Group Expands into West Africa
The Danish maritime service company VMS Group A/S expands into West Africa opening a workshop in Walvis Bay, Namibia. A favorable location combined with a rapidly growing offshore market and fishing fleet creates huge potential for a strong, maritime cluster in this region.
Being the only port with service facilities between Cape Town, South Africa, and the Canary Islands, Walvis Bay on the Namibian west coast is a key area for marine traffic in the Eastern Atlantic. This is the reason why VMS Group, headquartered in Frederikshavn, Denmark, now establishes a workshop close to the port facilities in Namport, Walvis Bay.
Namport is facing a planned extension which among other things includes a new container terminal. VMS Group has long been doing research in the region, and a close co-operation with the Namibian-owned company W. Dresselhaus Engineering based in Walvis Bay since 1989 has made the establishment of a 420 m2 workshop fully equipped with all necessary tools and equipment for grinding of valves, balancing and honing a reality.
A progressive region
"The business opportunities in the region are very promising. The local shipyard in Walvis Bay has made a considerable headway, and a giant container terminal is under construction. Moreover, a major oil deposit was recently found in the waters off Namibia, says Kristian Kaasing Larsen, Senior Vice President of VMS Group.
Larsen has recently been stationed in Brazil for four years building a VMS Group subsidiary in Niteroi, Rio de Janeiro, which is now employing a staff of 55 employees.
"Our workshop in Walvis Bay will initially be run by a Danish supervisor and a team from our Brazilian subsidiary. Eventually, manpower should be recruited locally to the extent possible, says Kristian Kaasing Larsen.
He sees a burgeoning sense of optimism in the oil and gas industry, which is now recovering from years of decline.
"In July alone, 24 rigs were reactivated, and with each rig being dependent on 3-4 supply boats, this only increases our market potential. Moreover, Walvis Bay has 12 fish factories and a local fishing fleet of more than 130 vessels. And last, but not least, we are already present in the region, when our current customers need service on vessels sailing in the West African waters, explains Kristian Kaasing Larsen.
New maritime service cluster
In addition to boosting the existing business and supporting the global development of VMS Group, the Danish company also sees possibilities in contributing to turning Walvis Bay into a new maritime service cluster.
The close co-operation between VMS Group, W. Dresselhaus Engineering, the local yard NAMDOCK and the port of Walvis Bay could form the pillars of a successful maritime cluster, since the port also serves as a service area for the three neighboring countries Botswana, Zambia og Zimbabwe with Dry Port facilities providing reloading of goods and supporting logistics and storing facilities.
From the workshop in Walvis Bay, VMS Group offers service and maintenance of all types of diesel engines, turbochargers and gears. This applies to vessels berthing in Africa as well as during voyage.