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BusinessExcellence Weekly ISSUE No. 33 | www.bus-ex.com

filcon filters:

setting ambitious

targets Aimimg to achieve 25 percent annual growth over the next three years

Africa Geophysical Services


Khalifa bin Salman Port (KBSP): APM Terminal

How would you like to see your company on the front cover of our weekly magazine?

Seen Put your company in the spotlight!

in touch EDITORIAL

Martin Ashcroft Editor In Chief mashcroft@bus-ex.com Will Daynes editor wdaynes@bus-ex.com


Matt Johnson Art Director mjohnson@bus-ex.com Louise Culling Production Designer lculling@bus-ex.com


Richard Turner Director of sales rturner@bus-ex.com Vince Kielty Director of Editorial Research vkielty@bus-ex.com Sharon Rooke Administration & Operations srooke@bus-ex.com Matt Day Head of technology mday@bus-ex.com Andy Turner Chief Executive aturner@bus-ex.com



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8 10

6 Event preview

mines and Money 2012

The 10th annual Mines and Money London Conference and Exhibition is expected to be the biggest yet.

8 EVENT preview


A special preview of Iraq’s major international event.


10 Comment: Iron ore industry

Turbulent times

A new report offers an insight into the dynamics driving the iron ore market, and a market outlook to 2020.

12 Supply chain

Small, smart and subtle

Effective solutions to an ‘ugly’ e-commerce headache can be achieved by optimising existing processes rather than restructuring them entirely, using ‘digital glue’.

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18 Filcon Filters

An ambitious target

This South Africa-based company has set an ambitious target of 25 percent annual growth over the next three years.

26 AGS – Africa Geophysical Services Making waves

How a team of experienced seismic experts are paving the way for other companies to reap the rewards that East Africa has to offer.


34 Khalifa bin Salman Port (KBSP): APM Terminal

Tomorrow’s trade solutions, today

Chief executive officer Marco Neelsen discusses the crucial role KBSP is playing in the development of Bahrain as a centre of trade and economic activity.

42 Síminn


The connected isle

Iceland is no backwater, thanks largely to an innovative and forward looking business and entertainment sector supported by Síminn, one of the world’s most advanced telecommunications corporations.

54 Asia Pacific ICT Alliance (APICTA)

Uniting Asia’s software industry

Each year APICTA recognises the best in innovation from across the Asia Pacific ICT community.

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the next generation MINES AND MONEY LONDON 2012 2-6 December 2012 Business Design Centre, Islington, London The 10th annual Mines and Money London Conference and Exhibition is expected to be the biggest yet, with over 3000 mining investors and developers crowding into the Business Design Centre. Europe’s largest mining investment deal-making forum, Mines and Money London helps mine developers to raise capital and investors to discover

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high potential mining investment opportunities from around the world. As the markets start to look towards recovery in 2013, Mines and Money London will feature an expanded exhibition of over 260 exciting mining investment prospects from multi-billion dollar producers to small-cap explorers. Helping guide your investment decisions, Mines and Money London also features an extensive conference programme, bringing together the international expertise of leading fund managers, industry analysts and mining

Special preview

n of mining projects

investment entrepreneurs, including Evy Hambro, one of the world’s most influential mining fund managers, Catherine Raw, portfolio manager at Blackrock World Mining Fund and Robert Friedland, chairman, Ivanhoe Capital Corporation. The investment keynote speech Outlook for mining investment: Identifying catalysts for recovery and growth will be given by Evy Hambro, while Rob McEwen, chairman & CEO of McEwen Mining will speak on Finding and funding the next-generation of mining projects. In-depth panels and analysis sessions

will provide high-value market intelligence to help you find growth opportunities in today’s volatile markets, as will superb networking opportunities with nightly drinks receptions. The unmissable blacktie Mines and Money London Gala Dinner on the evening of 5 December will feature the presentation of the 2012 Mining Journal Outstanding Achievement Awards. For more information about Mines and Money London 2012 visit: www.minesandmoney.com

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Iraq: The Hub of BASRA OIL & GAS INTERNATIONAL EXHIBITION & CONFERENCE 6-9 DECEMBER 2012 BASRA INTERNATIONAL FAIR GROUND, IRAQ The 3rd Basra Oil & Gas International Exhibition & Conference 2012 will be held in Basra from 6 to 9 December 2012. Internationally acclaimed experts from across the oil & gas sector will be addressing the challenges and opportunities in the Iraqi market. Speakers from Weatherford, Gulf Energy, South Oil Company (SOC)

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and Penspen will put forward their views on technology, health & safety, laws and regulations, petrochemicals and many other topics related to the conference theme “Iraq: The Hub of Future Energy.” Industry veteran, Mr. Falah Al-Kahawaja, ex-director general of the State Company for Oil Projects (SCOP), will manage the conference, bringing to the event his wealth and experience of Iraq’s growing influence. “This conference provides an unrivalled opportunity for the oil and gas industry to understand more about Iraq and the expectations for the future,” he said. “It is a complex market to navigate, and we want to provide a platform that gives local, regional and international companies interested in doing business in Iraq somewhere to share knowledge, experience and insight.” Though the data are still unreliable, the current government thinks that Iraq’s oil reserves are the largest in the world, amounting to upward of 350 billion barrels. Even the independently confirmed levels of 143 billion barrels put Iraq at third place in the world league. With a total of 79 fields, however, only 23 are currently producing, signifying significant potential for the future development.

Special preview

f Future Energy

Iraq is now planning to double its refinery capacity by 2017 and a vast number of oilfield service, development and extraction projects will be put out to tender by SCOP in the near future. One of the biggest projects coming up is the new refinery to be built at Kirkuk, in Kurdish northeast Iraq. SCOP will be offering the construction of the Kirkuk oil refinery to international companies on a build, operate and own (BOO) basis in December 2012. The first Basra International Exhibition & Conference welcomed 218

participants, and the second saw 17,000 visitors and 411 participants (including exhibitors, delegates and sponsors), the largest oil & gas event ever held in Iraq. This year’s exhibition will host over 400 companies, showcasing the very latest products and technologies. For more information about Basra Oil & Gas International Exhibition & Conference visit: www.basraoilgas.com

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Turbulent times by: Roskill Information Services


ith the disruption of supplies f r o m India, concerns over slowing economic growth in China, and the effects of large stockpiles forcing the price of iron ore through a series of supposed “price f loors”, the iron ore industry has faced a turbulent time during 2011 and 2012. While the price of iron ore appears set to make a partial recovery, Roskill’s new report offers a deeper level of insight into the dynamics driving

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the market, and offers a market outlook to 2020. From 2006 to 2011, the promise of a high return on investment led to a decrease in the concentration of corporate control of seaborne trade in iron ore. During this period, the share of seaborne trade controlled by Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton and Vale (the “Big Three”) fell to 57.3 percent of the world total. This trend is expected to reverse to 2020, as the limited availability of capital will make securing project financing increasingly difficult for emerging producers. Much

of the increase in capacity is expected to come from capacity expansions in Australia and Brazil and from projects backed by leading steel producers seeking to secure future supply. Downward revisions in the long-term outlook for iron ore demand and prices are likely to lead to the delay, suspension or cancellation of a large number of projects. Nonetheless, Roskill estimates that 425 million tonnes per year (mtpy) of nameplate capacity will be added from the middle of 2012 to the end of 2014 and that capacity additions

comment: Iron ore industry will continue to exceed 100mtpy through to 2020. These additions are likely to exceed demand growth and mostly represent low to medium-cost operations. Consequently, producers at the higher end of the cost curve—particularly those in China—will gradually find themselves unable to compete in the open market. In 2012, a destocking phase among steel producers depressed demand for iron ore and the World Steel Association expects apparent consumption of finished steel products to grow by only 2.1 percent in 2012, down from 6.2 percent in 2011. A partial recovery appears likely, as the construction sector in China and increased infrastructure spending will support growth in demand. During the period to 2020, however, rising demand from other emerging nations is unlikely to fully offset the slowing pace of growth in the intensity of steel use in China, as this country approaches a peak in per capita steel consumption. Roskill expects growth in apparent crude steel use to

2.9% Expected growth in crude steel use from 2012 to 2020

average 2.9 percent per year from 2012 to 2020. Owing to the ongoing shift of steel production to countries with a higher use of iron ore per unit of steel, Roskill forecasts that demand for iron ore, at 3.1 percent per year, will marginally outpace steel demand, despite a relative increase in the use of scrap metal. Uncertainty over the Eurozone affects the iron ore industry through its effect on demand, as well as through the reduced availability and higher cost of capital. Other risk factors include growing resource

nationalism, particularly in Africa, highly unpredictable energy costs, rising labour costs, and the fate of the Indian mining industry following the mining bans in Goa and Karnataka states. As new capacity comes on-stream, the industry’s price floor will gradually drop and Roskill expects that the US$100/t price level will be repeatedly tested and eventually broken towards 2015. In its baseline scenario, and adjusting for inflation, Roskill expects that prices may trend towards US$85 to US$95/t during 2016 to 2020. Roskill’s report provides a detailed view of the iron ore industry, with subsections on resources, world production, leading mining and processing companies, world consu mpt ion, demand by end-use sector, international trade and prices.

Roskill is regarded as one of the leading global sources of market research on industrial minerals, minor metals and steel alloys, with analysts based in the UK, Canada and China, along with an expert network of industry consultants and contacts around the world. www.roskill.com/iron-ore

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Supply chain

Small, smart

and subtle Effective solutions to an ‘ugly’ e-commerce headache can be achieved by optimising existing processes rather than restructuring them entirely, using ‘digital glue’ written by: Dr. Stephen Dakin

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ut umn is upon u s. The change in season ha s been very noticeable in the last few weeks. The evenings are darker, the coats are longer and there’s a definite chill in the air. The air of calm with which many people associate this time of year is not true for everyone, however. Right now, retailers and the delivery firms which serve them are busying themselves ahead of the preChristmas peak. The months of November and December account for their busiest time of the year. Since the global economic downturn began to bite in 2008, the end of year sales push has acquired additional importance among businesses eager to maximise turnover. Traditionally, of course, the peak had been split into two. The start of November used to see a spike in deliveries of goods to high street stores, enabling them to stock up in time for crowds of customers. Large volumes of parcels sent between

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friends and relations were responsible for a second surge in the weeks leading up to 25 December. That has all changed with the advent of e-commerce. A combination of recession and the continued growth in popularity of online shopping has seen large numbers of so-called ‘bricks and mortar’ stores permanently shut their doors and a consequent drop in the number of items heading towards the high street. Retailers and parcel firms have switched their focus to the internet, a virtual world where they can generate spectacular revenues. Last year, the cash tills of European e-commerce operators rang up sales of just over €200 billion for the first time. This year, the figure is expected to rise by more than 16 percent to more than €232 billion, very nearly double the takings from e-tailing only four years ago – and that’s despite Europe’s economic woes. On the face of it, such growth is great news not only for the retailers but parcel carriers too.

“Retailers firms have sw focus to th where they c spectacular

and parcel witched their he internet can generate r revenues”

Supply chain Each day in December, e-commerce will account for more than 10 million additional packages to be processed by carriers big and small across Europe. It isn’t without its headaches, though. Consumers are not just more confident in buying more items online but are buying bigger, heavier, bulkier things too. The vast majority of e-tailing purchases are small, fairly regularly-sized and can be easily handled by carriers and shippers. However, problems occur when it comes to handling those large, non-standard items which are described as ‘uglies’ in industry vocabulary. Even though they currently account for a relatively small percentage of parcel volumes, they take far more time to process because they can’t be placed on a conveyor belt and dealt with automatically. That is not only timeconsuming but requires more people, especially du r ing t he pa rcel industry’s peak period when the number of items of all shapes and sizes experiences a massive

surge. As well as slowing down an operation which is otherwise automated, those extra resources need to be paid for, potentially taking a bite out of the peak season profit which accounts for a significant proportion of overall annual profitability. To that financial ‘hit’ can be added the cost of inaccuracies introduced by the human element in parcel processing. Wrongly calculating delivery charges based on the weight and dimensions of an individual package can mean an undercharge of more than a few pence. When huge numbers of items are involved and in a time of continuing economic strictures, such losses can have substantial impact. Some parcel firms have simply thrown cash at the problem in order to live up to service level agreements (SLAs) signed with their retail clients. No business, though, can do that indefinitely. Revenue protection is one reason why Europe’s delivery firms are imposing limits on the number of e-commerce parcels which they’re

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prepared to carry, even as the European Commission embarks on a consultation exercise which it hopes will help dramatically increase the amount of goods bought online and shipped to homes. Capping capacities is just one approach adopted by carriers in response to the paradigm shift in the make-up of the parcel traffic which they have been required to handle as a result of the e-commerce boom. Delivery firms and their technology and retail

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partners have also placed an increasing premium on more innovative solutions to increase their ability to cope with larger items without running the risk of choking off the lucrative financial rewards of online shopping.

â‚Ź200 billion European e-commerce sales in 2011

Some have sought to combat the problem with bespoke development and systems while others have spent heavily on off-theshelf software, only to find that either or both amount to a technological finger in the dam. While they may resolve one issue, they may be so particular or inflexible a solution as to be incapable of dealing with other difficulties that arise in a fast-evolving retail sector. It seems that more nimble and subtle solutions are finding favour in such an

Supply chain

“Problems occur when it comes to handling those large, non-standard items which are described as ‘uglies’ in industry vocabulary” environment. For instance, using a range of existing products manufactured by major-brand companies such as Microsoft, Lenovo and CubeLogic, knitted together with software written by my colleagues at Pinesoft, we were able to come up with a kind of ‘digital glue’ called PostID. By using simple but effective kit and code, it has proved in practice to be four times quicker than the old manual methods for processing ‘uglies’. Furthermore, it has attracted the attention of firms who not only see its potential for increasing the automation and reducing the strain of nonstandard items but, just as importantly, protecting their revenues too. Despite having worked on projects which have been implemented in more than 100 countries around the

world, this single project made it abundantly clear to me that the best response to the overwhelming impact of something like e-commerce is not necessarily a total change of how businesses had operated previously. When creating PostID, we didn’t aim to turn the world upside down. We simply wanted to find subtle differences capable of producing a significant effect, preferring the optimising of existing processes rather than restructuring them entirely. Similar, small distinctions had already been central in e-commerce establishing its appeal and advantage to consumers compared to the

high street. Being able to track purchases or getting SMS and e-mail alerts about intended deliveries did not require massive new processes but has made shoppers more comfortable with the idea of buying more often and more expensive products online. As retailers and parcel firms draw breath before this year’s festive rush begins, there is a growing awareness that smart thinking and not seismic shifts may allow them to overcome any lingering reservations about online shopping a nd f ully capitalise on whatever benefits e-commerce offers into the future.

Dr Stephen Dakin is the managing director of Pinesoft, a London-based firm which provides business solutions for major domestic and international firms working in the logistics and distribution industries. www.pinesoft.co.uk

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An ambitious target South Africa-based Filcon Filters has set an ambitious target of 25 percent annual growth over the next three years. Directors Vernon Clarke, Tony Henfrey and George Canning talk about running a knowledge-based business written by: Gay Sutton research by: Marcus Lewis

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Filcon Filters

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Trevor giving a piece of pipe the evil eye

Filcon Filters


anufacturing, water and waste water, oil and gas, food and beverage, petro-chemical, paint—no matter what business you are in, continuity is essential. Downtime and quality issues cost money. So it’s small wonder that many companies prefer to stick with the brands and suppliers they know and trust. One company supplying top quality proprietary products, but also encouraging customers to break the cycle of inhibition when a custombuilt product would be more effective, is Filcon Filters. Launched in 2000 by owners Tony Henfrey and Vernon Clarke, Filcon initially began trading as an importer and supplier of proprietary filtration products with a distribution licence for Hayward Filtration, now part of Eaton Filtration. From its base in Cape Town, the company quickly expanded and diversified, and today stocks a wide variety of products that include self-cleaning, back washing and centrifugal filters, market, basket and flushing strainers, filter cartridges and bags as well as filter media in the form of materials such as activated carbon. “We are still diversifying,” said sales director Vernon Clarke. “We’re always looking for new types of equipment and technology, and if a new product fits with us we will investigate it.” Vernon drives sales and Tony positions the Filcon brand through press releases and search engine optimisation. Filcon’s aim is to become South Africa’s leading filtration specialist. Over the past 12 years considerable progress has been made towards that goal. “Today, we provide not

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25% Annual growth target from 2012 to 2015

PS250 Auto with brush

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just products,” explained financial director Tony Henfrey, “but we also answer any questions our customers have on filtration, and we will even design filtration systems to solve specific application problems.” Through a combination of in-house technical expertise, reliability and integrity, the company has built a solid reputation for excellence. “Service levels are particularly important to us,” Clarke continued. “If we are able to service the customer to the level that meets with their satisfaction, price is not always the key. People will purchase from us because we have the stock levels, and we deliver on time.” As part of its strategy for growth, the company opened a second office in Johannesburg two years ago, close to South Africa’s industrial heartland. One of the key roles of the new technical centre is to diversify into a new gap in the market. “With the rand weakening against most currencies and imports therefore becoming far more expensive,” Henfrey said, “we realised that manufacturing our own range of products would give us an edge.” The manufacturing arm of Filcon is managed and run by design engineering director George Canning who brings some 30 years’ experience to the business.

Filcon Filters

200GTSSHP in duplex format

The economics of manufacturing custom products in South Africa are, he believes, very persuasive. “Because of the size of the market here and the sheer range of filters that are available on the global market, it’s impractical to hold stocks of them all. So if a customer requires a filter that is in any way non-standard, the freight costs of importing a one-off product are simply prohibitive,” he said. “In the past, plant engineers have had to modify their plant in order to accommodate a filter from the standard range. The service we’re offering means they don’t have to do

that. We will design non-standard filters from scratch to their specification. We then outsource the manufacture to one of three trusted fabricators here in Johannesburg.” With Filcon’s reputation for technical excellence, the service has proved very popular. It saves on freight costs, reduces the downtime, cost and risk associated with adapting production equipment. All Filcon filters are manufactured to ISO 9001:2008 quality standards, and the company retains control of the entire process by providing not only the detailed technical designs but also the raw materials and components.

“We’re always looking for new types of equipment and technology, and if a new product fits with us we will investigate it” BE Weekly | 23

Since launching the new service, Canning has continuously been refining the design and manufacturing process to increase efficiency and reduce lead time, therefore making custom manufacture even more attractive. For example, where there are components and materials common to several products, the company always holds significant quantities in stock. Custom manufacturing has been very successful, and the unit has made a name for itself with some of its products. Among the more significant is the Dirt Gobbla, a centrifugal filter that is currently unique in South Africa. “We’re also known for our centrifugal strainer, our automatic purging strainer and back washing strainer,” Canning said. “And we’ve developed a popular line of locally manufactured in-line basket strainers.” As Filcon is a knowledge-based enterprise, ensuring business continuity has become a high priority. “This is something we’re very conscious of, and have been planning for,” Clarke said. There are currently two young graduates employed under Canning at the Johannesburg office, and one under Clarke at Cape Town. All three are undergoing a mixture of formal training and continuous in-house coaching where they are learning

skills and gaining experience of the industry, absorbing knowledge almost through a process of osmosis. “One is a young African lady who has a BSc in geology with a chemistry background which should be an aid in water treatment. It’s her first job out of graduation,” Henfrey explained. “She is showing tremendous potential and is probably one of the first black women to

“At this stage, we see mining as a real growth area, and we’re also looking at the oil and gas industry, particularly in Namibia, Mozambique and Tanzania” 24 | BE Weekly

Filcon Filters

300GTSSLP Strainers

700mm Strainer 3

venture into the filtration industry, so we’re nurturing her.” Alongside this, the company has been working to improve its BEE (broad-based black economic empowerment) score, and has recently raised this to level 2, an achievement that delivers added benefits for the customer. With these achievements under its belt, Filcon has set a challenging target for growth. “We have set ourselves a target of increasing sales by 25 percent per annum from 2012 through to 2015, and we are on target to achieve that this year,” Henfrey continued. “Our next priority is to open an office in Durban as we believe there is a big market in South Africa that we have not yet tapped. But we are also looking into Africa as a whole.” The company has already begun

to make inroads into the wider African market through third party suppliers. “At this stage, we see mining as a real growth area, and we’re also looking at the oil and gas industry, particularly in Namibia, Mozambique and Tanzania. And of course with South Africa being the 20th most water deprived country in the world there is tremendous potential for recycling and reusing water.” With so many new opportunities in a rapidly expanding industry base, the target seems well within range. For more information about Filcon Filters visit: www.filconfilters.co.za

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Making waves 26 | BE Weekly

AGS - Africa Geophysical Services

Country Manager Shane Johnson explains how a team of experienced seismic experts are paving the way for other companies to reap the rewards that East Africa has to offer written by: Will Daynes research by: Richard Halfhide BE Weekly | 27


hile countries such as Tanzania, Kenya and Mozambique are fast on their way to becoming established centres of economic prosperity, in part due to the extraction and utilisation of their considerable natural resources, the east of Africa remains home to a great many unexplored areas. It is because of the success of national and international companies in the region that these unchartered swaths of land have become of increasing interest to all manner of organisations. Exploring this land however can prove to be an expensive gamble, with companies standing to lose considerable amounts of capital should they choose to lay down infrastructure in an area that fails to yield results. In order to avoid such scenarios, these companies endeavour to acquire as much information about the potential profitability of a property before further work takes place. It is at this point where seismic experts like AGS come into play. Registered in Oman, AGS was established by managing director Steven Thomas, who subsequently brought in Shane Johnson as a country manager. “What we made it a priority to do from day one,” Johnson explains, “was to bring together a number of experienced individuals that possess a great deal of knowledge in their specialist fields, old seismic hands if you will, and then progressively build the business up from there.” The first contract awarded to AGS was on behalf of Dodsal Hydrocarbons and Power, conducting work for them in Tanzania’s

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Testing loaded shot point

AGS - Africa Geophysical Services

RUVU basin. This particular project required the company to carry out 550 kilometres of 2D land seismic in an area 60 kilometres west of the city of Dar Es Salaam. “We began this programme of work in late July 2011,” Johnson continues, “completing it in November. Following this we were awarded an extension of several hundred kilometres, a task we completed in between the wet seasons from January through to March. Most recently we completed our third extension programme in the RUVU basin during July, August and October.” On the heels of its success in the basin, AGS is now in the process of mobilising for a contract it was recently awarded by Ndovu

Drilling operations at low tide

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Resources, a wholly-owned local subsidiary of Aminex. This particular contract will see AGS carrying out 2D seismic over a distance of 890 kilometres, stretching down to the Mozambique border. One of the core characteristics that defines AGS, and has contributed significantly to its success over what is a relatively short space of time, is its ability to maintain low-overhead costs. “Unlike a lot of the big companies that we have previously worked for,” Johnson states, “we do not rely on large support networks in order to carry out our operations. What we do is hire personnel that possess a wealth of experience working in different fields. Between myself and Steven Thomas there is

AGS - Africa Geophysical Services something like 55 years of seismic experience alone, and having this level of knowledge in-house effectively allows the company to provide its own support systems. We believe wholeheartedly that we understand better than most how a crew needs to function and what it requires to be successful in the field, and we are able to deliver this without suffering from any drastic overhead costs.” The use of the latest recording technology and quality control systems has always been at the heart of the work the company undertakes, however it is its personnel that AGS credits with its success when it comes to working in areas of diverse culture and extreme environmental sensitivity. “Our

“AGS always looks to integrate itself into communities” staff,” Johnson enthuses, “have operated in Africa for some considerable time, with many bringing to the table experience of working in countries such as Tunisia, Morocco, Libya and Nigeria. In this time they have developed the ability to work through all manner of challenges, while generating innovative solutions that acquire high quality data in a safe, timely and efficient manner.” Understanding the impact its activities can have on the local population is something AGS takes very seriously. “We strive to employ and train as many locals as we can in the areas in which we operate,” Johnson says, “as well as purchase locally, wherever possible. As a company, AGS always looks to integrate itself into communities, understanding the value that can be generated by working alongside, and in partnership, with the local population.” This level of commitment to social responsibility also extends to the company’s environmental stance. Protecting the environment, preventing pollution and seeking improvements in the efficient use of natural resources are promises the company makes prior to undertaking any task. Equally as important is its ability to ensure, to the highest possible degree, that its products and services will not cause injury or adversely harm its surroundings. AGS’ goal, in the short-term at least, appears to revolve around steady, calculated growth.

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Small blow out charge going off during recording ops

AGS - Africa Geophysical Services “During the course of the next 12 months,” Johnson reveals, “we plan to start up a second land-sized crew, which will likely be based in Kenya. Once deployed, we will be able to monitor how we can effectively operate with two crews at work at the same time.” One of the things AGS is extremely conscious of is the danger that comes with young companies growing too big, too quickly. “If expansion isn’t handled correctly,” Johnson says, “you run the risk of having crews that don’t function safely and as a result operations could become unmanageable. That is precisely what we don’t want to see happening and want to avoid at all costs.” All going well, the success of a second land-sized crew in Kenya will then act as a springboard for what Johnson hopes will be greater international expansion for AGS. “Once we have shown to be able to operate multiple crews in a safe and effective manner we can then look ahead to establishing a large Vibroseis crew in Oman. This would most definitely represent a huge step forward for the business, but in order to get a foot in the door we have to be able to produce a curriculum vitae that provides proof of our capabilities. We believe our work in Africa up until now, and in the months to come, is the best form of proof we could possibly offer to this effect, and we are confident our clients would agree.” For more information about AGS - Africa Geophysical Services visit: www.ag-services.org

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Tomorrow’s trade solutions,


Chief executive officer Marco Neelsen discusses the crucial role KBSP is playing in the development of Bahrain as a centre of trade and economic activity written by: Will Daynes research by: Abi Abagun

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Khalifa bin Salman Port (KBSP): APM Terminal

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Yard operation in CT area

Khalifa bin Salman Port (KBSP): APM Terminal


ith a total area of some are taking on an increasing amount of 765 square kilometres, transhipment business, steaming mainly the island country of from the upper Gulf, and that raises the Bahrain may be small in profile of Bahrain immensely. Our land size, but what it lacks in based activities, conducted within our scale it more than makes up for in economic terminal facility, include the operational status. According to a January 2006 report management of several warehouses, where by the United Nations Economic and Social we strip and stuff containers and provide Commission for Western Asia, Bahrain loose cargo load and delivery services.” boasted the fastest growing economy in Under the management of global terminal the Arab world. Two years later it was operator APM Terminals, KBSP has quickly recognised as the world’s fastest growing evolved into one of the most modern financial centre by the City of London’s ports in the Gulf, capable of handling Global Financial Centres Index before being container vessels with a degree of efficiency named the freest economy that matches or exceeds in the Middle East, and any of the world’s most the twelfth overall in the productive ports. world, in the Wall Street “In offering modern, Journal’s 2011 Index of innovative services for the shipping industry of Economic Freedom. the 21st century,” Neelsen Having opened for business on April 1, 2009, continues, “KBSP is playing Total land cover and located on 110 hectares a fundamentally important of the port of reclaimed land, Khalifa role in the growth of Bahrain bin Salman Port (KBSP) as a whole.” Three specific is ideally positioned to be the premier things highlight this fact. First is the history transhipment hub for the northern Gulf. of the country as a trading community. With its deep-water berths and approach Indeed, Bahrain has existed as an epicentre channel, KBSP is a multipurpose terminal, for Gulf trade for hundreds of years and to able to accept large oceangoing container this day several highly influential trading and passenger vessels. families remain globally active, while being “With one of the most diversified port based in the country. service operations within our global Secondly is the fact that, as an island, portfolio, we are not solely reliant on it is absolutely imperative that Bahrain containerised traffic, however this still maintains well-run ports throughout the makes up approximately 50 percent of our country if it is to grow. Lastly, it is the very business revenue,” explains chief executive geography of the island that places it the officer, Marco Neelsen. “Furthermore, we enviable position of being something of



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P O BOX 5871, MANAMA, KINGDOM OF BAHRAIN. | TEL: 17742961/17742962, FAX: 17713691 smswll@batelco.com.bh


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Khalifa bin Salman Port (KBSP): APM Terminal a half-way point between Shutdown Maintenance Dubai and Kuwait, right at We have the honour to be a business partner with APM the heart of the Arab Gulf. Terminals, a company with great experience in logistics and Depending on the port management. business indicators, KBSP Our business relationship started in April 2007 in Mina has the ability to increase Salman, the old port within the Kingdom of Bahrain. Two its capacity by one-andyears later APM terminals moved its port management operation to Khalifa Bin Salman port. a-half times its current During the past five years we have experienced APM level, simply by bringing in terminals’ sustainability initiatives and safety awareness on additional quay and yard many occasions. equipment. This will in turn A recent approach was to focus on zero work accidents support the company’s drive by maximizing mechanical means through using road towards regional growth. sweepers, floor scrubbers and mechanical hygiene, thus “While we do not see offering a safe work environment to all beneficiaries of the Khalifa Bin Salman Port. ourselves as being in direct smswll@batelco.com.bh competition with the UAE,” Neelsen states, “we are concentrating our efforts on targeting countries in the upper Gulf, such as Kuwait, Iraq and the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia. In doing so we aim to promote Bahrain as something akin to a distribution epicentre within the region. Indeed this is where the geography of the island plays an important role in helping Bahrain achieve its mission of becoming much more visible in the Gulf.” Another aspect of this mission to increase Bahrain’s global significance is the cruise business. While the cruise season in Europe CEO-Marco Neelsen

“Khalifa bin Salman Port is ideally positioned to be the premier transhipment hub for the northern Gulf” BE Weekly | 39

may be over for another year, in the Middle East it is only now entering the first stages of its yearly cycle. For its part, KBSP has confirmed that it will play host to two cruise liners per week over the coming six months. Such a development is helping to put Bahrain back on the map as a cruise destination. This understandably provides the county’s tourism sector with an added boost and really highlights the importance of the port to Bahrain’s future prosperity.

“Looking at current levels,” Neelsen says, “we are seeing an increase in container volume throughput, driven mainly by regional transhipments, while local growth continues on both the containerised and general cargo side, with projects that were previously on hold during the global financial slowdown now starting to come on-stream as the country finds its feet again. The Free Trade Agreement that Bahrain has with the United States has made it an increasingly

“What we want above all else is to make as many people within the maritime world as possible take notice of Bahrain”

Aluminium shed

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Khalifa bin Salman Port (KBSP): APM Terminal

Car carrier

attractive option for those businesses that are looking to engage with the US market.” KBSP’s commitment to the growth of Bahrain as a nation can also be seen in its employment of a localisation policy. Of its 530 strong workforce, some 400 plus employees are local Bahrainis, giving the company a localisation rate of more than 80 percent, a figure that exceeds its target as set out by the government. “For our part as a terminal operator with a global portfolio,” Neelsen states, “our job is to come in and run the port effectively, while training and grooming young talent to operate the port. Achieving this is core to our commitment to the country and, as our productivity results show, we are well on the way to succeeding.”

In the long term, KBSP plans to transform itself into a centre for transhipment in the northern Gulf region. “What we want above all else,” Neelsen enthuses, “is to make as many people within the maritime world as possible take notice of Bahrain. In doing so we believe they will quickly recognise the potential this country has when it comes to serving this part of the world, and that it is from here that we at KBSP can provide the transhipment solutions that assist in a customer’s movements through the international market.” For more information about Khalifa bin Salman Port (KBSP): APM Terminal visit: www.gop.bh/kbsp.asp

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Iceland is no backwater, thanks largely to an innovative and forward looking business and entertainment sector supported by Síminn, one of the world’s most advanced telecommunications corporations written by: John O’Hanlon research by: David Brogan

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Telecommunications play a vital role in Iceland



celanders are a staunch breed of people, descendants of generations who built the modern state surviving famine, invasion, disease and political turmoil. No wonder that this small nation of a third of a million people on an island only 300 miles wide and 200 miles from north to south at its largest punches above its weight internationally. “We are travellers by nature,” says Anna Björk Bjarnadóttir. “We have had to be, because of our geographical isolation out here in the Atlantic.” Anna is CTO of the country’s principal telecommunications operator Síminn, which has been linking islanders with each other and the outside world since it was founded as the Iceland State Telephone Service in 1906. That was the year Iceland ended its isolation and became linked by a telephone cable with the rest of the world via the Faeroes and Scotland. Today telecommunications play a vital role in Iceland. Despite its limited population, penetration rates for networkrelated products and services are among the highest in the world. More than 95 percent of Iceland’s households have a computer connected to the internet and demand for internet services is very high. “When it comes to broadband take-up I think we are number one in the world,” says Anna, adding that within the next 18 months 80 percent of households will be reached by fibre optic cable, something other countries can only dream of at present and a really ambitious programme across terrain noted for its seismic activity. Síminn was privatised in 2005, since

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Síminn fjords of Iceland has a 2mb when it has operated in connection today,” she says. competition with other telecoms operators while “We have implemented remaining the incumbent, that using a number of with responsibility for the dif ferent techniques: fixed telecoms network, satellite, DSL and mobile a network of more than solutions are all used.” 700 mobile base stations Staying in touch with each other and the rest of covering the entire country, the world is very dear to and having a public service the hearts of Icelanders, remit. A government she says. “I think I can financed prog ramme Anna Björk Bjarnadóttir over the last two years, safely say that telecoms and for example, has seen the provision of a connectivity are seen as a commodity here. minimum 2 megabits per second (mbps) During the recession it has been one of the connection to every household, however last things they would give up or cut back isolated. “Even a farm far away in the west on when things got tight.” That’s reflected

Polystar Polystar is a visionary telecommunications company, providing world-class service management solutions for network performance maximisation. Polystar’s product portfolio enables telecom operators and service providers to monitor increasingly complex networks containing mixed technologies, digest billions of events and bring sense to this data. Polystar has one solution for all mobile and fixed networks that makes it possible to troubleshoot across different technologies. “Siminn had a need to replace an old system, for one that could handle both fixed and mobile services in one solution, which Polystar did,” says Ola Barthelson, Regional Sales Director at Polystar. Polystar’s solutions bring clarity through simplicity and take analytical capabilities to the

next level. The solutions encourage proactive behaviour and inspire new ways of network management. Potential problems can be dealt with before they affect quality of service. By using the innovative visualisation technologies of Jupiter, combined with the monitoring and data-gathering functionality of OSIX, operators gain access to the business intelligence they need to meet market change and remain competitive. “One big advantage with the Polystar solution is the increased cooperation between the fixed and mobile departments since they trouble-shoot in the same system,” says Baldur Baldursson, Director Mobile Networks at Siminn. www.polystar.com

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Show the world what your company has to offer with our tailored packages

Seen www.bus-ex.com

Síminn in the high take up of ‘on the AirTies top’ services like Wi-Fi and AirTies was founded in 2004 by a senior management VOIP solutions for making and technical team from Silicon Valley, with the strategic calls overseas. With travel intent to become the market leader for the wirelessly in their blood, Icelanders connected home. AirTies designs and develops its own have become avid digital software and hardware, wirelessly streaming high definition travellers, too, she says. video to multiple rooms and screens. The comprehensive product portfolio includes broadband Internet devices and “Of course no country is Internet based television set top boxes. Its world awarded completely isolated these technology enables seamless wireless integration at days but we do need to be the touch of a button, as well as 100% internet wireless innovative and think out of coverage in homes. the box a lot of the time just AirTies has an installed base of over 8 million worldwide. to function out here!” More information is available at. This is reflected in the www.airties.com data revolution that is now sweeping Iceland but which depends on bandwidth to power it. The focus at present is to complete the fibre network being installed, however the Post & Telecoms Administration (PTA) in Iceland is about to issue licences for 4G mobile bandwidth and Síminn is preparing its bid to ensure it retains its nationwide coverage. In fact the jump from 3G to 4G is not as radical as the introduction of 3G a decade ago, which saw the jump from voice-only to mobile data communications. What 4G brings to the party is more mbps and greatly enhanced connection speeds. “You will get more stuff faster than before,” says Anna. This will be of more than incidental value to Icelanders, making it easier for them to pursue their chosen lifestyle of decamping to summer house colonies for long periods and working from home using laptops and mobile devices. The flexibility offered by tablets and smartphones is only as useful Icelanders have become avid digital travellers as the infrastructure that supports them,

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however. Síminn’s existing 3G provides up all over the world to compete as well as to to 21 mbps currently, but 4G can support up buy and sell horses. This is a very different to 100 mbps connectivity, she says. clientele; older and more traditional, Faster mobile broadband will certainly nevertheless the app was downloaded by make life better for visitors to the country, 2000 users and achieved more than 70,000 many of whom come to the annual Iceland hits during the festival. “Here in Iceland Airwaves music festival, held in late October. you have high technology usage among the Airwaves has become one of the world’s older population.” foremost showcases for new Last year Síminn took over an entire day’s issue and alternative music after of the country’s oldest it launched in 1999. Since newspaper Morgunblaðið 2010 Síminn has been one of its principal sponsors, and covered it with QR codes. creating a mobile app that By downloading an app and Icelandic households grows year by year. With passing a smartphone over with a computer more than 200 bands and the paper, readers could connected to the internet performers taking part access deeper information there’s a lot of congestion on anything from news stories to the weather, on the ground but the app gives real time information on queuing giving them an experience and access to as well as full information about the technology that would still look futuristic performers and schedules. This year the in many other countries. At the same time app was downloaded more than 8000 times, it educated the business community to the which accounts for more than 2 percent of marketing potential of QR codes; since that the population, and in five days it generated exercise codes have been added to sites of more than 1.4 million page views. interest all over the country so that visitors A similar app was developed for the can find out what they need to know and at Landsmót hestamanna international horse the same time get to appreciate the value of festival which attracts even more people having great 3G coverage in remote parts of than Airwaves—20,000 visitors come from the landscape.


“Telecoms and connectivity are seen as a commodity here. During the recession it has been one of the last things they would give up or cut back on” 50 | BE Weekly


The company provides free communications services to around 30 charities

“I think we have a good culture of treating our employees, colleagues, partners and vendors well” Síminn aims to be so good that it is a role model for the entire business community; and that’s not just an aspiration but borne out in countless programmes. Anna Björk Bjarnadóttir is passionate about the company’s CSR programmes, and

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chairs FESTA (the Icelandic Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility), a notfor-profit organisation founded in 2011 to help companies implement their CSR strategies, raise awareness about CSR and encourage related research in cooperation


Even a remote farm has a 2mb connection today

with Icelandic universities. Síminn is in a unique position to lead in this field: “We have specialities and knowledge that other businesses do not have and feel obliged to use that knowledge to support our society.” The company provides free communications services to around 30 charities and not-for-profit businesses that support disadvantaged people. The CSR programme is not just about doing good for the less-well-off; it reflects fairness and equality within the company

too, she says. “I think we have a good culture of treating our employees, colleagues, partners and vendors well. We have some way to go but we believe strongly that our social programme will be good for the company, employees and customers and the whole society.” For more information about Síminn visit: www.siminn.is

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Asia Pacific ICT Alliance (APICTA)

Uniting Asia’s tware industry Each year APICTA recognises the best in innovation from across the Asia Pacific ICT community. This year’s event, hosted for the first time by Brunei, promises to break new ground written by: John O’Hanlon research by: David Brogan

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The coveted APICTA award

Asia Pacific ICT Alliance (APICTA)


rganisations across the Asia to ICT innovators and entrepreneurs in the Pacific region are expanding region, the program is designed to stimulate fast. As they increasingly ICT innovation and creativity, promote rely on technology to drive economic and trade relations, facilitate their businesses, they are technology transfer, and offer business also looking for solutions to help them matching opportunities via exposure to secure their IT environments, mitigate venture capitalists and investors. business risks, achieve compliance, enhance Sutee has been involved in APICTA user experience, and improve customer since its inception in 2001. It was born, he satisfaction. But the software industry in explains, out of the vision of Malaysia’s South East Asia is fragmented, nations then Prime Minister Dr Mahathir in this part of the world are linguistically Mohamed. “He believed we should be and culturally very diverse, and there is seeking out the most promising companies no standard political model, as western- in our very different economies, creating creative and style democracies, socialist organisational networks republics, Islamic states and absolute monarchies and bringing them to the are all to be found. attention of international The result has been markets.” National, or that while inventiveness, in some cases provincial Member economies technical ability and software alliances were of APICTA innovation are second contacted starting with to none, the software Malaysia’s Multimedia development sector has Development Corporation remained much smaller in most of the (MDeC) and the Australia Information economies round the Pacific Rim than in Industry Association (AIIA) but quickly Europe or the Americas. “Where Silicon spreading throughout the region so Valley corporations might have hundreds that today the 16 member economies of or even thousands of people, software APICTA are Australia, Brunei, China, developers in our member states typically Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Korea, employ between 30 and 70 people,” says Macau, Malaysia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Sutee Satanasathaporn, chairman of the Asia Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Pacific ICT Alliance (APICTA). The APICTA Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. Malaysia hosted the awards for the first is an international awards programme which aims to increase ICT awareness in two years. Since then it has moved from the community and assist in bridging the country to country till this year, from digital divide. By providing networking December 2 to 5, it will be held in the and product benchmarking opportunities smallest economy of all – geographically at


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least. Of course Brunei Darussalam is not a poor country but with a population of less than half a million it can’t be expected to have a comprehensive software industry, but what it does have is good. In some ways Brunei typifies the problems of the region. “Brunei’s biggest industry is O&G,” says Sutee. “They have very good universities and a few good software companies and they are looking to expand the market for their member companies. Like all of the countries they are looking for partners to augment the gaps in their knowledge and to expand the market for indigenous companies. The Brunei government is very keen to grow its ICT sector and the royal

Awards ceremony

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family is a great supporter of the software industry as well.” Nominees for APICTA awards are drawn from the winners of similar awards programmes in each member economy. They present their solutions before a panel of judges from all the member states. So what are the incentives for taking part? There is no cash prize, but for the winners the value of international recognition is beyond price, he says. “I think the main advantage is probably being able to connect with other software developers. Many entrepreneurial individuals develop smart solutions but sooner or later they need expertise from outside to scale the business:

Asia Pacific ICT Alliance (APICTA)

“The Brunei government is very keen to grow its ICT sector and the royal family is a great supporter of the software industry as well” we are able to connect them and help them achieve together the critical mass they need to compete internationally.” The members cover government, private sector and academic interests, it should be remembered, and the APICTA awards are recognised in all 16 economies so award winners in each of 17 categories

can expect high profile coverage. And it’s not just the winners who benefit: all nominees are already national award winners and now that APICTA is entering its 11th year they join a unique database of past participants. “If a Vietnamese company on our books is looking for a partner in Thailand,” he says, “it can search for somebody with the right skills and interests in the right industry sector: our database is a great tool for expanding the software market in the region.” Green and sustainable IT is sure to come under the spotlight in Brunei. For the first time it has its own category, and with fast growing awareness of environmentally friendly practices in all industries, including construction and the oil & gas sector Sutee is convinced the new award will grab the headlines. “Everyone is talking about green and environmental IT and saving energy. I have to say I am very keen to see who will be nominated – and who will win!” Software development is a young industry – everyone knows Facebook was thought up by undergraduates, so the categories judging secondary and undergraduate projects are particularly important and have proved fruitful in the past. “Every year we get some very good ideas put forward by university

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students. They may not have qualified yet but these are much more than just student projects – they are often highly commercial. Entrepreneurship starts early! It is really difficult to judge this category, because the criteria are different; but it is fascinating to watch them progress and grow in subsequent years to meet the criteria for the Start-Ups category or industry-specific awards.” There are many examples, says Sutee, but a good illustration of award progression is Larngear Technology, the Thai pioneer of augmented reality (AR) technology that literally makes 3D images leap from the pages of a book. Larngear has developed interactive classroom materials for studying the physical environment, the earth, solar system and molecular structure. The company’s educational AR products are designed to help instructors explain difficult concepts and make them more understandable, more interesting, and more attractive for young learners. “We strongly believe that AR technology can help leverage education in any part of the world.” Larngear has been a serial winner in APICTA, starting with a Merit for its founders when students at Chulalongkorn University, in the Tertiary Student Project category in 2006 for their ‘real-time camera

positioning and orientation estimation engine’ and going on to win as a company for its R&D in 2007 and 2010. Larngear has won many other awards but APICTA is unique in Asia, the only trans-national organisation that recognises developers. This year APICTA will start looking to its future. Back in 2003 The Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) announced the formation of an ASEAN Economic Community

“Many entrepreneurial individuals develop smart solutions but sooner or later they need expertise from outside to scale the business” 60 | BE Weekly

Asia Pacific ICT Alliance (APICTA)

Students gather for a workshop

(AEC) in 2015. ASEAN was How do you define originally conceived in 1967 Asia/Pacific anyway? asks as a geopolitical union, and Sutee. Many members it is hoped that when the are today looking towards the promising markets of AEC is launched it will help ASEAN Economic the Middle East including ASEAN boost its economic Community will Turkey, Iran and the competitiveness and be formed southern parts of the attractiveness to investors inside and outside the former Soviet Union. Wider region. Discussions are under way to find networks mean wider opportunities, he ways of leveraging APICTA’s knowledge and says, and the next couple of years will see extending its influence and thus its value to APICTA actively pursuing like minded the national organisations it represents, using states to extend its community. the opportunities presented by the AEC as it focuses on its markets, introducing measures For more information about to address non-tariff barriers, liberalization Asia Pacific ICT Alliance (APICTA) visit: and promoting the attractions of ASEAN as www.apicta2012.com an integrated investment area.


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Issue No.33


Issue No.33