Ben Line Agencies Limited

A maritime and logistics partner

With roots dating back to 1825, Ben Line Agencies Limited (BLA) has proven itself a robust and versatile partner to its clients, enabling it to deliver a comprehensive range of services across several key divisions within the shipping and oil and gas industries.

The company has survived the ravages of two world wars and the challenges of the volatile marine marketplace to become a leading round the clock marine service provider.

Today BLA operates exclusively within the Asian market and is the shipping services partner of choice to many within the region. With over 180 years of experience and a dedicated network of offices throughout the Asian region, the company delivers an extensive portfolio of services to clients from over 110 offices in 16 countries. Its divisions are comprised of liner agency, port agency, offshore support services, project logistics and broking services. BLA’s success is further strengthened by working relationships with the InterBulk Group and the Port of Houston Authority, which are designed to mutually consolidate the footprint of each respective partner.

Since BLA was last featured in European Oil and Gas Magazine during 2013 it has continued to strengthen its operations by further developing the portfolio of services that it provides. March 2014 saw it officially open its new ship broking and commercial services division at its Singapore office. Similarly the company’s reach has also been expanded with a new setup unveiled in South Korea including offices in Seoul and Busan, which are able to offer supporting services to all of the major ports within the country. In addition, BLA has increased its footprint significantly with two new office openings in India, as director Kristian Vandermeer elaborates: “The new office at Surat is to cover the Gulf of Khambat region, which has gas, chemical, bulk and project terminals between Hazira and Dahej. The expansion of the LNG terminal at Hazira is a landmark development and 2014 is likely to mark the renewal of serious exploration and production in existing and new oil and gas fields on both coasts of India, with new blocks likely to be announced.”

Within the oil and gas sector generally the company’s offshore operations team provides specialist marine agency and logistics support services to some of the market’s most recognisable operators. At present BLA is supporting sizable projects with Subsea 7, Prysmian, Polarcus, Leighton Offshore and McDermott. Drawing on its previous experience as a drilling contractor the company is able to meet the unique requirements of the oil and gas sector with services varying from arranging operational permits, bunkers and fresh water, crew handling, work permits, rig towage services, surveys, helicopter charter arrangement and spares delivery amongst many other operations. As such, BLA is prepared to deliver the required services to operators as the oil and gas market within Asia continues to develop. As Kristian observes: “We continue to see increasing levels of enquiries and activity in Southeast Asia, particularly in Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia, as well as large mobilisations and demobilisations in Singapore.
Myanmar is another country where more and more enquiries are being fielded. The country is opening up to foreign investment and although developments are moving slowly, we expect to see strong growth in the level of offshore oil and gas work in the coming years, with the 19 deepwater and 11 shallow water blocks that are up for tender now.”

From an organisational point of view BLA has taken steps to ensure that it is fully integrated with the wider maritime community. Similarly it has striven to further enhance the cohesion between its separate divisions. At the beginning of 2014 BLA joined the Maritime Anti-Corruption Network (MACN) as an associate member. “MACN is a global business network of major vessel owners and other companies in the maritime industry working towards a maritime industry free of corruption,” Kristian says. “Ben Line Agencies takes compliance and proper business ethics within our business very seriously and we have found that MACN has provided us with a very effective way to engage in some collective action on such issues, whilst also allowing for best practice sharing and incident reporting amongst a group of like-minded companies.

“In order to better realise the synergies between our main divisions, we now have a director in charge of these products, effective from Q3 2013. This new position reflects the growing demand in the market for integrated shipping services, and we as a company have been tasked with ensuring that our service offering across the various divisions is co-ordinated, with a more consistent level of service being delivered across the company’s entire network,” he continues. “We expect to see further growth in our one-stop-shop solutions within our marine agency and logistics services. Retaining our flexibility to offer tailor-made solutions to our customers is paramount to our business strategy, and being able to offer a cost efficient and high quality service is key to our further growth in this area. BLA will always retain a long-term view of our business relationships with our customers and this will guide us in ensuring a high rate of repeat customers.”

Ben Line Agencies Limited
Services: Specialist marine agency and logistics support