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Interview

with Wilson Coutinho, Director, Nitshore

28.07.2010 / Energyboardroom

Nitshore is the product of revitalization in the Port of Niteroi having been commissioned in 2005 to serve the booming market. Can you introduce these operations to our readers?

Nitshore and Nitport are located on the land rented from the Port of Niteroi that after millions of dollars in investments were restructured to cater to the offshore industry of today.
The operations began with naval repairs and transitioned into civil engineering with work on the Niteroi Bridge. We foresaw a large demand for an offshore-oriented service base so we prepared a location that would be able to meet the requirements of offshore vessels when they came into port.
Nitshore and Nitport were created to be offshore references in Brazil. Nitport’s operations specialize in the movement of bulk and general cargo while Nitshore focuses on supporting offshore as well as providing ship and rig repair. Within our facilities we provide, crane and forklift rental, quays, container control, water supply, waste management, electric energy generation, equipped offices, cement, as well as drilling and completion tanks.
In addition, we have custom house services for exports and imports including a bonded area that is unique to the region and helps companies importing or exporting equipment to utilize the Repetro tax law. We’re the only ones that can accept foreign cargo at the dock and process it onsite without having to go through the entire port structure of Rio de Janeiro. This saves our clients time, paperwork and costs as it gets their equipment functional in the shortest period of time possible.
The Port of Niteroi is supported by the logistics company Logshore who offers a general warehouse where clients don’t have to pay taxes. When companies go to take their stock out of the warehouse they then pay the taxes but it allows them to build an inventory here in Brazil. This facility has a 250,000 m² area and is located about a 15 minute drive from here.
Today we’re working on increasing the draft of the bay for larger vessels to get through which also requires up-to-date environmental regulations and approvals. I should note that we are ISO 14001 certified for our environmental standards and have the highest worldwide certification for meeting ecological demands.
Nitshore also provides the trained personnel for our facilities as well as for when we interface with platforms offshore which allow us to cater to the needs of our clients in real time. In this context we are ISO 9001 certified for quality have OSHAS 18001 standards for safety and health. Moreover, we have our own emergency response team that can provide relief in circumstance such as oil spills.
Security is always a concern in ports so we follow strict measures to prevent the entry of arms or dangerous substances. The area is watched 24/7 by security cameras and our close proximity to the military police is a benefit.
We’re the only port 100% dedicated to the offshore support market in Brazil and as such we’ve been ranked by an independent organization as having the most added-value of any port in the country.
We’re also expanding our facilities and offering by refurbishing an old mill into an office building for offshore companies that want to have a branch near their activities. This will have space for 400 offices and offers our clients whose head offices are spread throughout the region to centralize their offshore activities. Currently, using the first three floors internally and its part of our plan to renovate the port.

How are you going to fill this renovated office complex with 400 companies?

We already have 86 companies served here and more interested in entering the base. Aside from the drillers, chemical providers and oil companies there are many other satellite companies that support the industry. These groups want to participate in the offshore opportunities and be close to their customers so it’s a natural move for them to come here.

How will this base reposition Niteroi in the global scene?

Approximately five years ago, nobody was thinking about the offshore market but we saw the opportunity for rapid growth in this sector. We’ve been working very hard to position ourselves at the forefront. Today, we’re considering additional bases in the north to better serve the Espirto Santo Basin as well as the south to serve the Santos Basin. By doing this will have full strategic coverage along the coastline while also allowing us to expand our service offering.
We’re also duplicating our capacity here in Niteroi and increasing the draft of the channel to 10 meters to serve some larger vessels. In addition, we continue to improve our technologies for repair such as with steel services.

Petrobras is brining online the Comperj refinery not far from here; what role will you play in the success of this business?

It was good news to have the Comperj facility built nearby. As the closest port, we’re a clear answer to receive any equipment that comes in for the refinery complex. Of course, the refinery will also produce a wide variety of products that will either need to be transported around Brazil or shipped out. Therefore, as an integrated logistics provider we can play a key service role for the installation.

Nitshore has an impressive safety record for the industry, what has lead to this focus?

Safety is something we’re very proud of and we invest heavily in the capacities of our people and facility. We consider it an obligation to our clients who are rightly concerned about the quality and security of their services; it’s a top priority.

What is your perspective on the role Nitshore will play in the development of Brazil’s offshore discoveries?

We have established a timeframe for development. The initial growth in the market has been very fast and the offshore service providers have been quick to respond. In any business you have to plan, develop and then execute so for the moment I see the operators in the development stage. Our base supports the entire process from research to field operations so now that we are moving past the exploratory phase I see more growth approaching.
There are 25 to 30 years straight ahead for the industry.

Do you have a final message you would like to send to the industry?
Businessmen should believe not only in the Brazil but in themselves because it’s the people that make up the country and create the success.

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