September 26, 2017 / 10:56 PM / 10 months ago

Saudi's BahriBollore Logistics joint venture to start operations by year-end

RIYADH (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia’s Bahri, the world’s largest owner and operator of very large crude carriers (VLCCs), aims to start operating its joint venture with French logistics firm Bollore by the end of the year, an executive told Reuters on Tuesday.

“We are looking at activating the JV within the coming weeks. The CEO has been chosen, we’re forming the board,” said Bahri Vice Chairman Mohammed Abdulaziz AlSarhan, speaking on the sidelines of a launch event for the partnership in Riyadh.

BahriBollore Logistics, 60 percent owned by Bahri and based in Riyadh, will expand the shipper’s cargo business from port-to-port deliveries into more extensive door-to-door logistics.

There was “urgent need” for the expansion because of Bahri’s role as the exclusive carrier for the Saudi Electricity Company and the Saudi Ministry of Defence, making it responsible for shipping all of the kingdom’s weapons purchases, said AlSarhan.

“These two entities need door-to-door service,” he said.

A second joint venture with U.S. grains trader Bunge, which will pool the two companies’ ships to expand ocean freight shipments, had acquired offices in Dubai and would start operations “almost as we speak,” said AlSarhan.

Bahri, 22 percent-owned by Saudi sovereign wealth fund the Public Investment Fund (PIF) and 20 percent by state oil giant Aramco, transports crude oil, chemicals and dry bulk, and also offers ship management services.

In 2014 it merged with the former shipping arm of Aramco, Vela Marine International.

Reporting by Katie Paul; Editing by James Dalgleish

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