Ana Chávez
Director General
CHM Maritime

Latin America is New Frontier for Mexican Vessel Company

Wed, 01/21/2015 - 12:54

Over the last year, there has been an increasing demand for specialized vessels, which stems from the way the Energy Reform has boosted the shipping industry. However, CHM Maritime has not been directly impacted by this trend yet as the company operates in a different market niche. Ana Chávez, Director General of CHM Maritime, explains the company’s services focus on functional transportation, and the requirements for the types of vessels used for this purpose have not changed for the last five years. “We do not need to bring specialized vessels into Mexico since the requirements from our customers continue to be the same,” she shares. Most of the projects CHM has been involved in were through PEMEX. However, due to the current market conditions, PEMEX has postponed or delayed many of these projects. This led CHM to seek other opportunities, including the installation of platforms in the Bay of Campeche that were completed with Heerema. “This is the most relevant project that we had throughout 2014. However, we anticipate new projects coming out as CHM Maritime is offering newer vessels, which are less than fifteen years old and in optimal condition,” Chávez tells. The company’s services are designed to help overcome operational and technical challenges, offering added value to clients during the development of their operations. In terms of cost reduction, CHM Maritime does not follow discount-based strategies. On the contrary, in this time of uncertainty, this supplier aims to maintain its current cost structure. Otherwise, the recovery would be much more complicated. Instead, CHM Maritime is adding value by providing better services during the operation and development of its activities.

CHM Maritime’s fleet is constantly undergoing renovation, as the age of the company’s fleet is a key element in its competitive advantage. Chávez comments that the company plans to add two more barge-type vessels this year, which will be registered in Mexico. Likewise, CHM Maritime expects to add at least one more tugboat to its fleet, as these are in high demand. In fact, Chávez sees tugboats as a great area of opportunity for the company. “The vessels CHM Maritime offers are mainly used to transport platform infrastructure. Since we deal with heavy structures, it is easier to handle them with a single large tugboat instead of using many small tugboats,” details Chávez, adding that these types of vessels are ideal for the spot market. Each year, CHM Maritime seeks to register its vessels in Mexico, as one of its prime motivations is to increase the size of the Mexican fleet. In order to continue its quest for growth, CHM Maritime is focusing on expanding its services through a client-oriented approach, not only in Mexico but also in the rest of Latin America.

According to Chávez, this expansion will drive CHM Maritime’s strategy for 2015 and 2016. It should allow the company to expand its offering in Mexico while reducing the company’s dependency on PEMEX. At the same time, CHM Maritime will seek to open its doors to clients in countries such as Venezuela, Colombia, and Brazil, among others. While CHM Maritime started as a Mexican company three years ago, the company has added the experience from Cashman Equipment, which is its affiliate in the US. Cashman has been offering world-class services for many years, so expanding its market beyond Mexican borders is not a problem for CHM Maritime. “Even though we are focusing on growing in the Latin American region, we are still paying close attention to local projects in Mexico. CHM Maritime is waiting for the outcomes of the bidding processes of Round One while we are seeking ways to push further into the Latin American market,” asserts Chávez.

In Chávez’s view, the service market in Mexico needs to continue growing, a situation that provides plenty of opportunities for CHM Maritime. Last year, the company opened an office in Tampico for that very purpose, and CHM Maritime already has a fleet operating in the area. In fact, the platform installation project that CHM Maritime worked on with Heerema took place between the ports of Altamira and Tampico. Now, in terms of new niches in Mexico, CHM will focus on alternative markets, such as private companies providing services to the government. “We are trying to participate in the extension of the ports of Veracruz and Salina Cruz. We are also offering our services in Venezuela by sending barges and tugboats for the transportation of rigs in that country. Therefore, our drivers will remain intact for the moment as we build to continue improving our operations,” Chávez concludes.