Mr. Peter K. Mathew
Tell us about the name Fleet Line Shipping. Where does it come from and when was the company established? What are your main activities today?
We started operating in Dubai in early 2005. We began as an asset based company, owning and operating an NVOCC Line with special equipment such as flat racks, flat beds, open top containers etc. To compliment the special cargo handling as a one stop solution provider, we also bought flat bed trailers and created a separate lashing and crating division.
Having started with a fleet of various types of special equipment to cater to the project cargo segment of shipping, we thought Fleet Line Shipping (FLS) was the right name for our company.
Today FLS as progressed and diversified into multiple verticals including warehousing, breakbulk liner agency, international freight forwarding for general cargo etc. to cater to the entire range of logistics solutions.
Iraq is a country that has seen both war and constant turmoil, tell us about your experience in moving project cargo to and from Iraq. What kind of gateways are used and through which ports/countries (if not direct) can you access destinations in Iraq?
We have a JV company in Iraq with a local expert in freight forwarding, which was established in 2008. Since then we have been handling many Oil and Gas, Energy and Construction related projects. Every project is different in terms of compliances and procedures, not to mention the infrastructural challenges reaching some of the remote sites.
Umm Qasir port is the gateway port we use to access the southern part of Iraq. To access the northern part, especially the Kurdistan region, we route the freight through the Turkish border.
You need personal contacts in Iraq to get things moving, tell us what makes your company able to do a good job in moving project cargo in and out of Iraq?
Local knowledge and expertise is paramount when it comes to Iraq. Since we provide door to door service (in-country logistics) in Iraq, we give our customers an option of freight coming into our name, for which we have a general trade license as well. In this way we have the cargo cleared with customs under DDP terms. Door delivered is one of our specialities. We also have storage facilities for general cargo, including food items.
Is customs clearance done at the port or border or is it done at the final destination?
Most of the Oil and Gas related cargo have to be customs cleared under levy exemption basis. To avail and implement the same, we need to co-ordinate with many government departments. We do the same in a timely manner to avoid freight incurring detention / demurrage and to have them delivered at the project site.
Customs clearance has to be done at the point of entry i.e. Umm Qasir port or at Ibrahim Khalili / Zako border (Iraq-Turkey border).
How do you view the current situation in Iraq? Media often portrays a scary picture, tell us about the actual situation on the ground.
There are few incidents in Iraq but things are quite normal these days. There is no disruption of cargo movements.
Is the Arabic language spoken in U.A.E. the same as that spoken in Iraq?
The dialects are different but the language is the same. We can understand each others. But Kurdistan region of Iraq is different, they speak Kurdish.
Tell us about yourself, your shipping career and how you decided to enter into this line of business.
I have been a resident of Dubai for the last 23 years. After working over a decade with a prominent shipping firm, I decided to start Fleet Line, today we are blessed with a bunch of talented people working with us.
Finally if anyone of our readers would like a quote from you to whom should they reach out?