Congratulations on Tristar recording 37 per cent growth for last year! In your view as an industry titan and CEO of the organisation, how does Tristar’s profits mirror the success of the UAE maritime, shipping and logistics industry?
The Maritime Logistics division of the Tristar Group has shown steady and consistent growth in terms of both assets and profitability. We have a diversified portfolio of assets covering coastal lubricant barges and crew boats, chemical tankers, product tankers, gas carriers, and dry bulk vessels. We own majority of the assets that have historically been placed on stable long-term contracts to our major customers.
We have gradually built a chartering business in both the tankers and dry bulk segments allowing us to take advantage of the volatility in the markets, while also having protection to downside from the core fleet. This shows a maturity in our shipping business that is mirroring the gradual maturity of the UAE Maritime Sector.
The Emirates Shipping Association gained Federal Authority in November 2020 during the pandemic and our Tristar Maritime CEO, Chris Peters is an appointed Board Member acting as Treasurer. This gives Tristar access to other local and national shipping companies and an insight into the workings of the wider UAE shipping industry.
With its recent acquisition of a 51 per cent stake in HG Storage International Limited, Tristar’s global presence has expanded to 29 countries. What does this mean for the UAE maritime and logistics sector?
Maritime is a global business and therefore having an extended presence across the globe will greatly enhance our visibility and ability to extend our load port to discharge model to potential clients in addition to the flexibility that we can extend for storage to our Maritime customers especially in favourable contango market conditions.
How critical is blockchain to the maritime industry and what new technologies are already being employed by Tristar in this field?
Within Tristar, blockchain has been an important accelerator for growth in our other business segments, streamlining processes and giving our customers access to real time information about their product.
Maritime is as an industry reliant on cooperation of all parties to successfully implement change. Within the industry physical Bills of Lading are still used globally for the carriage of goods and physically signed and stamped by a ship’s captain. The industry needs to come together to allow blockchain to automate this process and many others. We are confident that blockchain applications may be more widely used in the maritime business in the foreseeable future.
In terms of big picture and predicting the challenges ahead, how do you see the maritime sector evolving in the UAE over the next five years?
The UAE already has a time advantage for maritime trading, excluding the Americas, as it is 3-4 hours ahead of Europe and 4 hours behind Hong Kong and Singapore. This makes the UAE an attractive time zone for doing business. The Emirates Shipping Association, along with other government entities are actively listening to the industry and working to improve on regulations and the requirements of the industry.
The UAE already has a significant presence in the ports, drydocks and trading companies. For Tristar Maritime, we already have some of our vessels trading under the UAE flag. We hope that as the regulations and industry bodies expand the knowledge, other local ship owners will see value in flagging ships in the UAE.
TRISTAR GROUP'S MARITIME LOGISTICS STAYING AHEAD
The year 2021 was a record year for financial performance in terms of revenue for the company, says Tristar Maritime CEO, Chris Peters
Tristar Maritime is the ship owning and operating division of the Tristar Group, whose activity enables the company to complement its first and last mile fuel transport service with ocean transport to service a wide range of customers across the globe with a one-stop fuel supply solution.
The pandemic has caused many issues for many industries but shipping crew were certainly put to the test due to several factors outside the control of the seafarer and his/her employers. This resulted in vessels remaining quarantined at port for several months at a time and individual seafarers spending more than a year at sea.
According to Tristar Maritime CEO, Chris Peters, despite all the challenges faced, 2021 was a record year in terms of financial performance in regards to revenue, EBITDA and net profit, with 2022 on track to outperform 2021. “I am thankful to the dedication and professionalism of the Maritime Team that kept the fleet moving and downtime to a minimum,” he adds.
The division’s new building 25,000 DWT IMO II vessels, ordered at the end of 2018 were successfully delivered, with four coming in 2020 and the final two in January 2021. All six vessels, despite the pandemic were delivered on time and on budget. Upon delivery to Tristar the vessels were placed on Time Charter to Shell and have been performing as expected and planned.
Looking forward there are new regulations coming to the world in general in relation to decarbonisation with various versions of Net Zero coming for 2050 and other targets by 2030.
Reducing carbon emissions
Global shipping accounts for c. 2.8 per cent of all carbon emissions. New regulations come into effect on January 1, 2023, with the aim to reduce overall emissions through to 2030. “With Tristar’s historic sustainability outlook - before it became fashionable – its new build vessels in 2016 and again in 2020/2021 already meet the new regulations through to 2030, without having to make any modifications,” says Peters.
For the older fleet, a programme has been implemented and all vessels reviewed by their respective class and Tristar’s own technical team. Where appropriate, modifications will be completed well in advance of January 1, 2023 to ensure full compliance and uphold Tristar’s strong commitment to sustainability.
Peters added that an ongoing evaluation of the fleet is being established to see how Tristar can not only meet the regulations but also strive to continuously stay ahead of them. Various concepts have been reviewed for alternative fuels including battery-powered vessels for the coastal fleet and dual fueled ocean going vessels.
Safety at Sea conference held
The inaugural Safety at Sea Conference was held in November 2019, followed by a virtual session in December 2020, and then a hybrid event at the India Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai in December 2021. This annual event has been a success for both Tristar, and more importantly the group’s seafarers and the wider seafarers community.
Thousands of seafarers around the globe participated virtually in all three conferences, including the 2019 edition, which was live streamed. Key successes from the conferences include the establishment of a Help Line in association with the Sailors’ Society, enabling seafarers and their families to get immediate support in times of need. Tristar also established a training programme for officers to help identify fellow seafarers who may be showing signs of mental fatigue.
Rewards and recognition
For these Safety at Sea initiatives, Tristar Maritime has been recognised in the past two years for its commitment to look after the welfare and mental well-being of its seafarers and others when it received the Corporate Social Responsibility awards from The Maritime Standard, Arabia CSR Awards, Seatrade, Logistics Middle East Awards and, most recently in June, Golden Peacock Global Award.