The MEED list: Middle East & North Africa ports

10 November 2009

The 12 key figures in the region’s ports and shipping industries are: Khamis bin Mubarak al-Alawi, Humoud al-Ajlan, Said Elhadi, Ahmed Ali Fadel, Imad Najib Fakhoury, Muhammad Ghannam, Jorn Hinge, Amir Jabbar, Sheikh Daij bin Salman bin Daij al-Khalifa, Allan Rosenberg, Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem and Saher Tahlawi

Khamis bin Mubarak al-Alawi

Position: Transport & Communications Minister, Oman

Biography: Khamis bin Mubarak al-Alawi was appointed Oman’s Transport & Communications Minister in September 2007. Since then, he has taken charge of a string of major port development projects around the country. Projects under way include the multi-billion-dollar development of Sohar Port, to turn it into a trans-shipment and industrial hub, and the expansion of Port of Salalah. Ferry terminals are being developed at Seeb, Salalah, Khasab and Shinas. One of the biggest decisions Al-Alawi will need to make is what to do with Sultan Qaboos Port in central Muscat. In a report in June, UK consultant Atkins recommended it be converted into a tourist facility. Prior to his current role, Al-Alawi was Housing, Electricity & Water Minister for three years, having taken up the position in May 2004 after heading up the Regional Municipalities, Environment & Water Resources Ministry.

Contact Tel: (+968) 2469 7888

Humoud al-Ajlan

Position: Chief executive officer (CEO), National Shipping Company of Saudi Arabia

Biography: Humoud al-Ajlan joined National Shipping Company of Saudi Arabia (NSCSA) in 1993 as finance director, becoming vice-CEO before being promoted to CEO. The Riyadh-headquartered company was founded in 1979 and its three core areas of business are transporting crude oil, chemicals and general cargo. The company owns 34 vessels. Al-Ajlan is also chairman of the Dubai-headquartered Mid-east Ship Management, a subsidiary of NSCSA, and a board member of Riyadh-based National Chemical Carriers, a joint venture of NSCSA and Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (Sabic). In 1984, Al-Ajlan graduated from King Saud University with a bachelor of science degree, majoring in accounting. He went on to obtain a master’s degree in professional accounting in 1989 from the University of Miami in the US.

Contact Tel: (+966) 1478 5454

Said Elhadi

Position: Chairman, Tangier Mediterranean Special Agency

Biography: Said Elhadi chairs the Tanger Mediterranean Special Agency, the state-owned company in charge of developing and managing Tanger Med Port. He also runs the Tanger Med Port Authority, which is in day-to-day control of port activities. Elhadi graduated from the Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussees in France in 1990 with an MBA. He began his career at the Moroccan National Port Authority’s development department, and later headed the operations of the chemical port of Jorf Lasfar. In 1995, Elhadi joined SNI, a local private investment company, as general manager of Longometal, a subsidiary that distributes construction materials and equipment. In 1998, he became deputy general manager and later CEO of Sonasid, a local steelmaker. In June 2003, King Mohammed VI appointed Elhadi to the board of Tanger Mediterranean Special Agency.

Contact Tel: (+212) 2295 5500

Ahmed Ali Fadel

Position: Chairman and CEO, Suez Canal Authority

Biography: Ahmed Ali Fadel has been chairman of the Suez Canal Authority since January 1996. The authority is in charge of operating and improving the 190-kilometre-long canal, one of the critical links in the global trade system. It raises money by levying tolls on ships using the canal, although in recent years it has had to freeze these fees due to the fall in global trade. The authority aims to have increased the permissible draft in the canal to 66 feet by the end of this year, which will allow 60 per cent of the world’s tankers and all container ships to pass through. A further dredging to 72 feet may follow and the authority also plans to dig extra bypasses along the canal to allow ships to overtake. But one of the most important challenges to traffic flow through the canal is outside the authority’s control: the threat of piracy in the waters off the Somali coast.

Contact Tel: (+20) 64339 2000

Imad Najib Fakhoury

Position: CEO, Aqaba Development Corporation (ADC)

Biography: Imad Najib Fakhoury is CEO of ADC. Set up in 2004, ADC owns Aqaba’s seaport and airport, and is in charge of their future development. ADC is jointly owned by the Jordanian government and Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority. With a coastline of just 27 kilometres, Jordan has limited opportunities to develop itself as a marine gateway. However, many of the goods imported into Iraq travel overland through Jordan. Prior to taking charge of the ADC, Fakhoury served as planning and programming chief of staff to King Abdullah II. He has also been deputy chief commissioner and commissioner for investment and economic development for the Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority. Fakhoury holds degrees from the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard, and the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, Chicago, both in the US.

Contact Tel: (+962) 3201 9933

Muhammad Ghannam

Position: Managing director, Qatar Gas Transport Company (Nakilat)

Biography: As head of Qatar’s shipping arm, Nakilat, Muhammad Ghannam has played a pivotal role in the exploitation of the country’s key resource: natural gas. Nakilat was established in 2004 and has an extensive fleet of vessels to transport liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Qatar’s North field. By next year, it will own 54 LNG vessels, making it the largest LNG ship owner in the world. Ghannam qualified as a public accountant in 1975, joining Nakilat in 2004 when the company was created with the mandate to handle the shipping requirements of Qatar’s LNG production. Prior to joining Nakilat, Ghannam had been chief operating officer for finance at state-run energy firm Qatargas. He also held financial roles at the exploration and production headquarters of US energy giant ExxonMobil Corporation in Dallas, Texas, and at its Indonesian subsidiary.

Contact Tel: (+974) 499 8111

Jorn Hinge

Position: President and CEO, United Arab Shipping Company (UASC)

Biography: Jorn Hinge was appointed president and CEO of UASC in May 2009, 15 years after he joined the company as chief operating officer. He replaced Ken Bloch Soerensen, who had been in the position for four years, in a restructuring of the management team. Hinge has more than 30 years’ experience in the shipping industry. Prior to joining UASC, he worked for Denmark’s East Asiatic Company for 28 years in a variety of management positions in South America, North America and Europe. In his current role, he is in charge of one of the largest shipping fleets in the Middle East, with 42 vessels, the largest of which can carry almost 7,000 20-foot-equivalent units (TEUs). UASC will take delivery of nine new container ships from 2010, each with a capacity of 13,000 TEUs. UASC was set up in July 1976 by six Gulf states.

Contact Tel: (+9714) 295 2525

Amir Jabbar

Position: Transport Minister, Iraq

Biography: Since he was appointed Transport Minister at the start of August 2008, Amir Jabbar has caused significant upheaval in the country’s transport infrastructure. One of his first acts was to suspend all major infrastructure projects until he had got to grips with his portfolio. This halted progress on the redevelopment and privatisation of the country’s only deep-sea port, at Umm Qasr. To date, only two short-term deals have been struck with international companies to manage individual berths at the port. At the same time, there is confusion over whether the Transport Ministry will opt to develop one of two proposed new ports on the Al-Faw peninsula, close to the border with Iran, or if an oil terminal being planned by the Oil Ministry will effectively render that unnecessary. But any long-term deal to operate the country’s main port could prove lucrative and interest is likely to remain strong.


Sheikh Daij bin Salman bin Daij al-Khalifa

Position: Chairman, General Organisation of Sea Ports (GOP), Bahrain

Biography: Sheikh Daij bin Salman bin Daij al-Khalifa has been chairman of the GOP since it was set up in 2006, and has been undersecretary for ports affairs at the Finance Ministry since June 2008. Sheikh Daij graduated with a BSBA in international business from the American University in Washington in 1991. He began his career at the Industry & Commerce Ministry in April 1992 as assistant undersecretary for foreign trade, before being promoted to head of foreign trade. In March 2006, he moved to the Finance Ministry, where he became president of customs. He took up his current role as undersecretary for ports affairs in June 2008. Sheikh Daij is chairman of the Bahrain Airport Company and chairman of Arab Shipbuilding & Repair Yard Company. He is also a board member of United Arab Shipping Company.

Contact Tel: (+973) 1735 9522

Allan Rosenberg

Position: CEO, KGL Ports International

Biography: Allan Rosenberg has been CEO of Kuwait’s KGL Ports International since May 2008 and is a member of the executive advisory board of its parent company, KGL Holding. He has worked in the shipping industry for more than 35 years, much of the time with Danish shipping giant Maersk, where he was country manager of several markets for 23 years. KGL Ports International was established in 2004. It manages and operates two terminals in the Gulf: Shuaiba Port in Kuwait and Mina Saqr in Ras al-Khaimah. It is involved with the construction of a new container terminal at Damietta, Egypt, which will have capacity for up to 4 million TEUs a year once it is completed by the end of 2009. Through its involvement with the Aqaba Gateway Group, it is also preferred bidder to build a $700m port at Aqaba in Jordan. Rosenberg has a maritime law degree from the Commercial College in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Contact Tel: (+965) 1888 700

Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem

Position: Chairman, DP World

Biography: Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem was appointed chairman of Dubai Ports Authority, the precursor to DP World, when it was formed in 1991 to manage Jebel Ali Port and Port Rashid. He continued as chairman of DP World when it was set up in 2005. In March 2006, he became chairman of its parent company, Dubai World. That year, he also led DP World’s purchase of the UK’s P&O group for $6.8bn, one of the largest overseas investments ever made by a Gulf company. Alongside his prominent role in the transport sector, Sulayem has helped to establish companies responsible for some of Dubai’s most ambitious projects. These include real estate developers Nakheel and Limitless. He founded investment company Istithmar World in 2003 and sits on the board of the Dubai government’s Executive Council. He is chairman of the Dubai Multi-Commodities Centre and Jebel Ali Free Zone.

Contact Tel: (+9714) 881 8808

Saher Tahlawi

Position: Director general, Jeddah Islamic Port

Biography: Saher Tahlawi is director general of Jeddah Islamic Port, Saudi Arabia’s most important marine gateway. In 2008, the port handled 65 per cent of all goods imported into the kingdom. With a throughput of 3.1 million TEUs in 2008, Jeddah Islamic Port is also the second-largest container port in the GCC, behind Jebel Ali in Dubai. The port has suffered from severe congestion, partly as a result of its city-centre location and the lack of sufficient road and rail links. Plans to increase capacity with the launch of the Red Sea Gateway terminal in 2010 could make the problem worse, although local authorities plan to improve the road network, and the Landbridge rail link to the Gulf coast will also link to the port. Tahlawi will also soon have to grapple with increased competition from a port planned for King Abdullah Economic City near Rabigh, 100 kilometres to the north.

Contact Tel: (+966) 2647 1200

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