“Wilhelmsen Maritime Services – Barwil (Thailand) Ltd. Will be the shaper of the maritime service industry”

Wilhelmsen Maritime Services is a global company delivering state of the art maritime services, including ship management, crewing, port and logistics services through a global network of local offices. 
       At the end of June 2005, Barwil appointed a new manager for Thailand charged with the objective of making the company grow to become a local leader within Port Marine Services. This consist of leading Barwil (Thailand) Ltd. In to the top spot among shipping agents in Thailand. 
       Nikolai Norman is the new managing director of  Barwil (Thailand) Ltd. and before arriving in Bangkok, he was working for various shipping companies in London for about 10 years. During this period of time, 1 year was offshore as repair man onboard one of the Atle Jebsen Group of vessels sailing short sea. He also spent two years in Russia and Ukraine and another five years in the Arabian coastal ports of  Dubai and Abu Dhabi. 
       His number one objective as a manager he says is to assist clients achieve the smooth, safe, timely operation of our Principals vessels calling Thailand Ports. This goes hand in hand with WMS policy to contribute to the success of our customers and to build long-term relationships as an integrated part of their value chain.
       “And in the shipping business, it is essential to deliver those goods on time,” he smiles.
Norman loves the job and says that being in the transportation business related to sea going activities is never boring.
       “On the contrary, it is a professional career with a high level of responsibilities and in our business, apart from the ordinary goods we transport, there are often extraordinary items for the company to handle.”
       “When I was in Ukraine, we carried a rocket which was being used to launch a weather satellite high above the Pacific Ocean. This business is still going on controlled by “Sea Launch Company” with Barwil as a sub – contracter within the value chain. It was quite a complicated operation because the transportation infrastructure in Ukraine was not that good,” he recalls.
       “But we got the job done successfully.”
       “In the Middle East we handle equipment in the power and electricity sectors. Those types of operation are also quite interesting because it requires much more planning. Whenever we delivered goods to remote areas in the desert for example, it was very demanding. The equipment is very heavy and hard to control. Proper pre-planning is the key to success. Thus, the transportation business needs real expertise in today’s environment,” he adds.
       Wilh. Wilhelmsen group of companies is noted for its policy of training management from the ground up and before anyone assumes a senior management position in the company. This is being done through our own in-house “Wilhelmsen Academy”. In addition some sea going experience will be highly beneficial as a part of the learning curve must is not a pre – requisite by the company.
       “I spent one year at sea getting the experience and understanding for what happens out there. It was a very useful experience living onboard and it helped me understand the requirements of a vessel much better than I could ever learn from being onshore behind an office desk.
       Here in Thailand his objectives for the next five years are to grow the company to become the largest Port Marine Service provider in Thailand.  
       “I see huge potential for our company because Thailand has shown positive signs of welcoming foreign capital, and the Thai government has put things in place to allow foreign and domestic companies to compete.”
       “One example is the car manufacturing sector. All major Japanese car manufacturers are located in the Laem Chabang and Rayong areas. Such giants as GM and BMW also have factories in Thailand and for us Port Marine Service and Logistics business, it is good news if productivity here continues.” Bearing in mind that our sister company Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics is our sister company and one of the major vehicle carriers of the world, we see a bright future. We commenced a new service within Inter Asia last month. This service is called “SEA Express” and call Laem Chabang every 10 days to load and discharge vehicles, high & heavy roll on and roll off equipment. 
       “So, I see positive opportunities to grow our company here,” stresses Norman. 
       WMS (Barwill Thailand)  now employs around 45 Thai staff at their head office on the 8th floor of Q-House building in Sathorn Road. They employ other staff on the Eastern Seaboard and at the airport.
Norman admits that first couple months taking over the helm of Barwil (Thailand) Ltd. was not plain sailing.
       “At the beginning, it did not go quite go smoothly as planned, as the new staff struggled to react to the demands of their enthusiastic managing director. 
       “I have to say that I had not expected any kind of cultural shock when joining Barwil in Thailand, but I later found out that I was wrong” 
       “As a Norwegian, I am very direct with people in order to get to the point. In Thailand I discovered this is not the norm, and I had to back off a bit.”
       “But now after sixth months, we are learning about each other and my staff are learning about me and how I do business, and the name of the game is to make the different cultures merge. But you have to give it some time and you have to respect each other too,” he smiles.
       “Something else that is quite important to me is that we work as a team and everyone should contribute and have their say no matter who they are. My policy is that it is not only the managing director that does all the talking and puts down the guidelines. After all I’m actually a foreigner – a fish out of water so-to-speak – so I feel my staff should have enough faith in me, just as I must have faith in them, to let them feel free and to be open with me and to address any concerns openly.”
       Apart from his work Norman spends his free time with his wife and friends usually golfing, noting that his wife was very happy to be here too.
       “I have been to Khao Yai and some nearby countries, but I have only been here for six months and have had no real time to travel yet. In the future, I plan to see as much as I can,” being Laos in a couple of days he says.

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