Spanish tugboat company going to Western Sahara

The Spanish Boluda Group is looking to Dakhla and El Aaiun in occupied Western Sahara.
Published: 10.07 - 2008 23:40Printer version    
As the exports of fish and phosphate from El Aaiun and Dahkla keeps growing, so do the opportunities for companies involved in harbour activities (such as tugboats, ship agencies etc.).

According the Lloyd's, the Madrid headquartered Boluda Group is now seeking to connect El Aaiun and Dakhla harbours closer to Europe.

The article does not mention that the 2 ports are situated in the occupied Western Sahara and that the UN has consistently condemned the exploitation and plundering of natural resources and any other economic activities detrimental to the population's interests.

Lloyd's List
June 30, 2008

Boluda eyes 'potential' of US and Africa;
Group confident Les Abeilles buy will be platform for future growth

DIVERSIFIED maritime group Boluda believes its purchase last year of French towing operator Les Abeilles provides it with a significant opportunity for future growth.

Boluda took over the Bourbon subsidiary at the end of last year in a deal thought to be worth EU270m ($424m). The acquisition added 70 tugs and a workforce of 1,000 to Boluda's operation, taking its fleet close to 200 vessels.

As chief executive Alicia Martí describes it, the two companies are a neat fit that allows Boluda to significantly expand its international presence. "Boluda Towage and Salvage is our core business," she said. "It is where the group originated, and it is the activity through which we have grown by adding value for our customers.

"Taking into account that we are now a presence in South America as well as the leader in the Spanish market, Les Abeilles was a quantitative and qualitative opportunity for growth in France but also globally.

"It consolidates our presence in natural growth areas like Africa; specifically Morocco, Senegal, Ivory Coast and Cameroon; and the Indian Ocean at La Mayotte and Reunion Island.

"We value both their internal management and their strategic positioning, " she said, adding that the natural synergies between the two companies are already working to Boluda's advantage.

In terms of expansion, Ms Martí said the company was now studying and bidding on a number of different international tenders, adding that "the US and African markets are those that have most potential right now".

If towage and salvage remains at the heart of a business that is also involved in cabotage and bunker supply, shipbuilding and port management; Ms Martí said the group also sees distinct opportunities in other areas.

In the offshore market, she said that Boluda is already at work in such areas as the Gulf of Mexico and the Mediterranean. As an already strong market for oil exploration and development moves into ever-deeper waters, she expects the company to expand both organically and through other means "on a case-by-case basis".

Boluda is also planning to beef up its burgeoning shipping business on cabotage and shorthaul routes. "The arch that links Europe with Africa is a strategic zone for Boluda Maritime," she said. "We have a strong presence in the Canary Islands that allows us to link the Iberian peninsula and Italy with the west coast of Africa. Now we are going to reinforce these connections with new routes to improve links between these European countries and the African ports of Agadir,Layounne, Dakhla, Nouakchott and Dakar."

On a broader level, she said the group aims to become a truly global operator and is gradually expanding its network of offices at major ports. She added that Boluda is concentrating on "the reorganisation of the group around a global brand, and the integration of Les Abeilles into Boluda Towage".

"We are also focused on the management of marine terminals, particularly Terminal de la Luz in Las Palmas and Alicante, through Terminales Marítimas del Sureste and the expansion of Boluda's services," she added.




Morocco occupies the major part of its neighbouring country, Western Sahara. Entering into business deals with Moroccan companies or authorities in the occupied territories gives an impression of political legitimacy to the occupation. It also gives job opportunities to Moroccan settlers and income to the Moroccan government. Western Sahara Resource Watch demands foreign companies leave Western Sahara until a solution to the conflict is found.
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