Svitzer Americas’ new chief commercial officer exclusively explains its expansion strategy and challenges in the region
Svitzer has set its sights on growth in the Americas, where it is one of the leading players in towage and port operations. Svitzer Americas operates 87 vessels, including 72 tugs, in over 13 countries, 35 locations and employs more than 740 people in the region.
But for Svitzer Americas’ new chief commercial officer Arjen Van Dijk, there is more room for growth as new port and terminal projects are developed.
He speaks exclusively to Tug Technology & Business about this growth strategy, upcoming challenges and how Svitzer intends to overcome them for greater towage business in the region.
“In Svitzer, we consider the Americas a growth region and we are determined to achieve our growth objectives and further enforce our position in the region,” he says.
“Our strategy for the Americas is to pursue further growth within a careful selection of projects and ports that fit our portfolio and capabilities well, and where our multi-local presence will make us a more efficient and reliable partner to our customers.”
This presence includes a head office in Miami, US, operations in eight nations in the Caribbean, three in South America and in two ports in Canada. “We have a strong position in markets that hold a lot of potential for us, primarily Argentina, Brazil and the Caribbean,” says Mr van Dijk.
Svitzer’s largest market position in the region is the Dominican Republic where it operates in 13 locations, then Brazil in five ports, followed by Argentina in three ports.
“We are looking to expand in more key areas, within both harbour and terminal towage,” says Mr van Dijk. “While ensuring we further strengthen our relations and service delivery to our current customers in the region.”
Existing towage customers are as important to Svitzer as its growth in other ports. “No matter where we operate, they can expect reliable and efficient services, qualified crews and fit for purpose, well-maintained vessels.”
However, Svitzer will pursue business expansion opportunities when they arise. “By growing in a targeted and organic way we will further strengthen our value proposition to our clients and broaden our base and port coverage across the region,” says Mr van Dijk.
Svitzer operates in competitive markets where shipping companies have faced tough economics and pressures to reduce costs.
“Consolidation in the industry and a downward trend in tariffs is something any player in global and local towage is facing,” says Mr van Dijk.
“To stay ahead we must always seek to improve what we do and deliver the best, safest and most efficient service at the lowest sustainable cost.
“It is key we are able to meet customer’s expectations of attractive rates without compromising on safety nor quality – that is our main challenge and mission in the Americas region,” he explains.
Svitzer brings its local, regional and global knowledge, insights and operational expertise to its operations in the Americas.
“The player who has the best, safest, most efficient operational setup and is able to provide sufficient port coverage across key harbours and countries wins,” says Mr van Dijk.
“We are determined to turn our expertise into added value for our customers. We always try to think in creative ways and alternative models of operation and growth to meet their needs.”
He says this is how the group differentiates itself from rivals.
“By maintaining high standards of safety and compliance, we do our best to differentiate ourselves and play an active role in the countries and communities where we operate,” he says.
Svitzer Americas operations
87 vessels, including 72 tugs, across 13 countries – a total of 35 operations: