Trusted Vessel Supplier Examines Restructure IndustryWed, 01/21/2015 - 13:01
Q: How has the shipping industry fared, given the negative impact of the drop in oil prices and the positive outlook as a result of the Energy Reform?
A: Growth has been at the core of the Energy Reform since its promulgation, but there was no way to anticipate the decline in oil prices. The shipping industry is depressed because the drop also impacts the price of vessels. The crisis caught us while we were building seven vessels. Fortunately, we have signed contracts for these vessels and our clients need them. While the price of oil remains low, Naviera Integral will work on maintaining its stability rather than on promoting change. Let us not forget, however, that the oil price has always fluctuated in accordance with the law of supply and demand. Naviera Integral overcame the challenges it faced 28 years ago and we have seen many ups and downs in oil prices since then, so we have no reason to be particularly worried now. After all, the Energy Reform is a decisive change that we must take advantage of. It was created precisely to give way to a broader range of operators and to extract a larger amount of oil. We are waiting to see the results of the first licensing rounds and the new operators that will come in. As more companies explore and exploit hydrocarbons, we will have multiple clients instead of relying exclusively on just one.
Q: What vessels are you prioritizing at this moment and which services do you think will experience more demand in the coming years?
A: Naviera Integral started off with lower capacity ships, conventional ships, and crew boats. These minor vessels are used to cover short distances, move between fewer platforms, and carry fewer people and lighter loads. We started to change our fleet in 1999 as we were growing. We were then determined to seek technological changes through cooperation with international vessel manufacturers, and brought in rapid intervention ships and fast supply vessels. Today, we are one of the few Mexican companies, if not the only Mexican company, that has renovated 80% of its fleet. Each type of vessel we provide has a specific function. Passenger vessels make up the bulk of our fleet, and Naviera Integral is transporting the largest amount of passengers to marine platforms, between platforms, and to shore in Mexico. We move an average of 1,000-1,500 people a day. We are also able to move heavy loads with fewer personnel, for which we offer fast supply vessels. Finally, we also have platform supply vessels, which are used to move significantly heavier cargo. The technological demands regarding vessels correspond with the type of exploration or production projects in question, and will generate a demand for different kinds of vessels. Our new vessels are currently navigating shallow waters but they can also navigate in deepwaters. We have to look at the future and think about the outcome of the licensing rounds. If operators decide to move to the Perdido area, which is further offshore than most of our operations, certain types of vessels will be required. In that case, we will have to revise our engineering to provide the vessels demanded.
Q: Are you planning to diversify geographically?
A: Our contract with PEMEX specifies that Naviera Integral should have presence in all the ports of the country, particularly along the eastern coast. Our main operations are in Tamaulipas, Veracruz, Tabasco, and Campeche. However, if PEMEX asks us to go to Matamoros on a rather short notice, we will do so as it is stated in the contract. We are more than prepared to fulfill specific requests. The company also has agents who take care of our vessels by maintaining them and assigning personnel to head to any destination.
Q: How is Naviera Integral engaged with improving safety at sea in Mexico?
A: We actively avoid accidents by constantly training our personnel and strictly following regulations. I can put a price on a vessel but not on a human life. Naviera Integral’s fleet operates according to security norms and codes. In addition, we have to follow the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea as PEMEX demands. Due to our contract with PEMEX, we are compelled to participate in rescue operations whenever needed, while the General Directorate of Ports and the Merchant Navy, by which we are governed, also obliges us to safeguard human life at sea. Thus, we are always ready to attend accidents. In fact, we participated in the recent Abkatun rescue operation. Among our rescue fleet, we have fireboats and ships with dispersing valves to stop contamination when spills occur, while our passenger vessels pick up people who might be in danger in the case of an emergency. Besides this, we hold the ISO certification and all the national certifications that set the highest standards for safety performance in the country.