Inchcape Shipping reopens Guam office, seeking expansion, eyeing cruise market
Updated: Sep 30
By Mar-Vic Cagurangan
Arising from a three-year hiatus, Inchcape Shipping Services has reopened its Guam office, with plans to expand and cash in on the growing port traffic in the region.
“Guam is strategically very important as a U.S. territory. With increasing activity at two military bases on the island, that means we’re handling more calls by logistics and naval ships,” said Ariel Dumapit, operations manager.
Inchcape officially reopened its doors on May 22 at the Century Plaza Building on Marine Corps Drive in Tamuning. The reopening announcement was made only this week.
Dumapit said the Guam office plans to expand its service reach and grow organically through mergers and acquisitions. “Most future business will likely be related to military movements. They also want to grow its footprint in project work,” he said.
With tourism picking up again, Inchcape also set its eyes on the cruise market.
Dumapit said he recently met with officials of the Guam Port Authority and representatives from a Japan-based cruise line for a tour of the port and a presentation of how the company handles cruise ships.
Headquartered in Singapore, Inchcape opened a Guam office in the 1990s. However, a significant drop in the volume of businesses coming to the island prompted the closure of the local office in December 2018.
While Inchcape continued to operate after closing shop on Guam, it employed sub-agents including CTSI Logistics, Sea Ventures Shipping, Tropical Breeze Shipping Agency and Pohnpei Transfer & Storage to cover its routes and service locations including Guam Saipan Palau, Kosrae, Pohnpei and Majuro.
“The volumes have bounced back after the pandemic, justifying the move to reopen,” Dumapit said. “Another key reason is that our customers universally want Inchcape to handle their ships, not a third party.”
Inchcape Shipping provides a diverse range of maritime services including all port agency services such as husbandry, crew logistics services, ship-handling, bunker fuel supply arrangement, liner agency, marine survey & inspection, logistics services to oil and gas, construction, dredging, cable-laying, cruise tourism, military support services.
“Our main business in the past few months is supporting product tankers, car carriers and military vessels. Guam has the biggest volume, but as we don’t have local staff in Saipan or Tinian it’s basically me following ships between the islands,” Dumapit said.
“We handled a huge amount of business during the pandemic because other ports were closed around that time, so ships from different places diverted to Guam,” Dumapit said.
Inchcape, however, does not do containership, a service undertaken by Matson Navigation and APL Guam.
“Remember the islands don’t produce anything so all consumer goods are imported. We do bunkering very rarely because fuel is too expensive here; Singapore is the big bunkering hub in our region," Dumapit said.
“With this reopening, we regain a permanent presence in a critical geographical location. We will now no longer operate via sub-agents and instead have direct control over all operational matters, ensuring even greater levels of customer service for customers," he added.