Focus on Shipping

Mon 26th Feb 2018

Dear Reader,

Warmest greetings.  It is a privilege to have this opportunity to tell you a little bit about myself, the shipping services we at OMA provide to our customers and my role as the Group Sales & Commercial Director. 

My association with West Africa began in 2008 when I moved to Lagos, Nigeria. It was there that I experienced what were probably some of my greatest and most interesting business challenges, managing companies involved in shipping, logistics, marine and manpower services. To say I learnt a lot, would probably be an understatement! Nonetheless, West Africa was in my blood and there it has stayed ever since. 

Today, I have the good fortune to do work which not only allows me to interact with customers on a daily basis, but which also requires that I travel across West Africa from our head office in the Ghanaian capital, Accra to Mauritania in the north, through Senegal, Ivory Coast, Ghana and across into Togo, Benin and Cameroon.

From the outside looking into the region, the challenges may appear daunting, but from the inside looking out, there are huge opportunities for those who have the courage to make a long-term commitment to West Africa. 

At OMA we are extremely proud of our 30+ years history, from humble beginnings in Togo in the 1980s, to where we are today as a leading, independent shipping, logistics and oil & gas support services operator in West Africa. We pride ourselves on our professionalism, our local knowledge & expertise and being responsive to customers’ needs. It’s all thanks to colleagues, who together, form a team of dedicated, enthusiastic and passionate individuals who are prepared to go that extra mile for the customer. We are undoubtedly a people business.

Our range of shipping services includes liner agency, general ships agency, protective agency and vessel husbandry. If it floats and carries people, and/or cargo, we can handle it!

Thanks to long-standing, trustworthy relationships developed with port authorities, customs, immigration, quarantine and port state control officials, port calls can be handled quickly and efficiently.  

In Liner Agency, we are proud of our long association with one of the largest global container lines, Hapag-Lloyd. Since 2008, we have looked after Hapag-Lloyd’s interests in Benin & Togo and subsequently in the Ivory Coast. This year marked the start of our joint venture with Hapag-Lloyd in Ghana.

Our General Ships Agency service offers customers a full agency service provided by OMA’s team of professional and competent colleagues at every port and terminal in the countries in which OMA, and its partners, have a presence. All vessel types can be handled, including tankers, break-bulk, dry bulk, cruise, military, offshore supply vessels, ro-ro and project vessels. Since 2012, OMA has been the GAC Group global network agent in Benin, Togo, Ghana and Ivory Coast and handled vessels for leading operators such as BP and Shell, amongst many others.

For customers wanting peace of mind when their vessels call at ports in West Africa, and who also want to be safe in the knowledge that their interests are being fully protected, OMA provides Protective Agency and Vessel Husbandry services. Whether it be the timely delivery of urgent spare parts, crew change arrangements, emergency medical assistance, customs clearance for temporary importation of offshore units, OMA is there to help.

I often say I have the best job in the world! In my role as the Group Sales & Commercial Director, it is my responsibility to develop relationships with existing customers and establish business relationships with new customers. It is not a job I do alone however. All colleagues at OMA are sales people. I believe that if you’re happy, dedicated and interested in your work, selling the OMA brand becomes second nature to everyone, because it is a brand we are all proud to be part of.  

Getting to know customers the world over and their individual requirements is really quite fascinating. With marketing resources in Europe and the Far East, an OMA person is never too far away for a face to face meeting.

In 2017, OMA Group handled just under 8000 agency appointments at the various ports and terminals in the countries where it has a presence. One minute it’s dealing with a ship’s spares delivery in the port of Tema, the next minute it’s preparing for the arrival of a Navy ship at Cotonou and then in the middle of it all, there’s a medical evacuation off Senegal.  We understand solid business relationships are built on consistently good service and trust, and we know they take time to develop. We are patient and most importantly, we listen to what our customers have to say.

Every customer, no matter how big or how small, is important to us; each has direct access not only to operations colleagues for routine matters, but also to the Country Managers and to myself for more complex or sensitive issues. It is our desire to develop relationships as customers and their businesses grow. We want to be part of our customers’ success!

It’s early 2018, but already I have high hopes that this year will be another good year for OMA in West Africa, despite mixed opinions on the outlook for the global economy. We already know we will be handling some interesting port calls, some of which will be for new customers.  

With the settlement of the maritime boundary dispute between Ghana and Ivory Coast, we expect to see an increase in offshore activity in both countries. The MSGBC Basin (Mauritania, Senegal, Guinea Bissau-Conakry) looks set to see further offshore activity with Senegal strategically positioned to take full advantage of developments there. Cruise vessels will once again make a return to West Africa and with them, the passengers and their spending-power that the economies of West Africa welcome.

Neale Proctor

One thing is for sure; 2018 will be an exciting year for everyone at OMA as we look to grow our existing shipping services business and we develop new related services which our customers have asked for. Our plans for the future, both short term and long term continue to evolve and will be highlighted in future newsletters.

To all our valued customers far and wide, I would like to say a big thank you for your support. It really is

very much appreciated. To our new customers, I offer you a very warm welcome to the OMA Group. I hope you will take the time to get to know us and enjoy your “voyage” with us.