Please tell us about your background and your professional journey, and how you came to be the CEO of Cardinal Marine Experts?
It all started in 1987. At that time, the merchant navy was a niche profession, and it was not easy to get into. After three years of hard training on a ship, I graduated and started sailing from 1990, becoming captain of a large vessel after 9 years of being a navigating officer. In 2002, I moved to Dubai and became a marine surveyor, inspecting vessels, damage claims, cargo, and containers. We founded Cardinal Marine in 2006 and it has been an extremely satisfying journey since then.
Kindly take us through the core area of business and the services you provide.
Our core business is providing clients techno-commercial solutions for maritime transportation and the trans-shipment of goods. Our most important service is 'ship to ship' (STS) transfers of liquid oil, chemical, and gas cargo parcels, traded by some of the most renowned and prominent trading houses in the world. We have offices in Dubai, Fujairah, Oman and India, covering the entire sub-continent.
In addition, we also provide other marine consultancy services, such as vessel inspections, cargo loading readiness assessment, LNG terminal assessment, and compatibility studies with LNG vessels. Also, we audit vessels and represent several flag states and vessel registration authorities worldwide and conduct inspections onboard vessels to confirm compliance.
What is the competitive edge you have and how do you stand out?
Since our clients are oil and gas trading houses and commodities exporters, they cannot lose time and we help them expedite their turnaround of cargo shipping. Our competitive edge is being the only local company in the region, able to provide prompt solutions. With state-of-the-art gears for cargo transport and experienced personnel, safety is the top priority of all our services. We own various type of equipment to handle different cargoes like white oil products, black oil products, acidic chemical solvents, alkaline chemical solvents, petrochemical solvents and LPG cargo handled under cryogenic temperatures.
2020 has been tough for most businesses. What strategies or policies have you adopted to cope with the situation and assist those who have suffered due to the pandemic?
This major global crisis has been quite tough on all the businesses across the world, including us. But we have taken this challenge head on and implemented a business policy to cause minimum disruption in our supply of services. Innovative solutions have been developed by bifurcating our operating bases, advising clients on the best options to complete STS transfers, as well as providing other services via virtual interactive platforms.
Technology has changed over the years and has altered the way businesses run. What technological changes has your company adopted to keep up with the rapid technological advances?
We have implemented online marine advisories, remote equipment maintenance monitoring and incorporated remote audit process management for our internal quality system management.
Can you name some of your key milestones and achievements?
After establishing Cardinal in 2007, we launched Pace Marine in 2010 with the primary focus of ship charter and LNG terminal commissioning and consultancy. This year, we acquired a 35-year-old UAE-based company Anchor Marine, which provides the entire range of safety equipment servicing onboard vessels.
What are your future plans? Any message for the upcoming generation or budding entrepreneurs?
Even though we feel that there is a crunch in the market, we remain on the lookout for new and exciting maritime projects with prospective clients.
So, always have faith in your own self and in your own efforts. Be consistent with effort and luck will grace you with favours and achievements.