ICTSI Yang-Ming-and-Rickmers

ICTSI – Dubai, UAE

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Interview with

Mr. Michael Nielsen
Commercial EMEA


To begin with, Michael could you elaborate a bit to our readers about your career in shipping leading up to your current position representing ICTSI—one of the most well-known port and terminal operators worldwide?

I have primarily worked for vessel operators / shipowners throughout my career. I started in the container segment and slowly moved more and more into the break bulk / project / heavy lift segments. I have been lucky enough to have worked in Singapore, Japan, Mauritius, and for the last 8 years in the UAE.

In my current role with ICTSI, I will make use of my operator experience and my network to add some additional focus and further develop the non-containerized cargo we handle through our ports. We recently announced one, new, multipurpose port concession secured in West Africa (more details below), and we hope to be able to announce another couple of new initiatives in the region before the end of the year. These will be in addition to some of the existing terminals already handling break bulk / project cargo on a regular basis.

Baltic Container Terminal Ltd. (BCT), Gdynia, Poland – Wind Turbines on Chipolbrok
Baltic Container Terminal Ltd. (BCT), Gdynia, Poland – Wind Turbine Towers Onboard Chipolbrok Vessel

ICTSI is running both container and bulk terminals, right? Tell us more and provide us with some insights as to where you currently have your development focus, please.

ICTSI operates dedicated container terminals as well as a number of multipurpose terminals. 

Our terminals range from our fully automated container terminal in Melbourne, Australia, to true multipurpose terminals like our terminal in Umm Qasr, Iraq, which handles both containers and break bulk cargo for Iraq’s massive oil industry. 

Basra-Gateway-Terminal, Iraq
Basra Gateway Terminal, Iraq

Currently, one of ICTSI’s focus areas is further expansion in Africa. While we are successfully operating the Matadi Gateway Terminal (DR Congo) and MICTSL (Toamasina, Madagascar), we have also recently signed a concession for a multipurpose terminal at the newly developed Kribi deep water port (Cameroun).

Gateway To Central Africa PDF Cover
Gateway to Central Africa

View the Gateway to Central Africa brochure

And, fingers crossed, before year-end, we expect to inaugurate another two multipurpose terminals in West Africa which should be of interest to your readers. We hope to be able to announce these projects soon.

Matadi Gateway Terminal (MGT), DR Congo
Matadi Gateway Terminal (MGT), DR Congo

Who are the owners of ICTSI and where is the headquarters located?

ICTSI is a publicly listed, international port company headquartered out of Manila, Philippines.

The company started operations in the Port of Manila in 1988 and has, since then, successfully expanded globally. We now operate 33 terminals/ports in 21 countries on 5 continents.

More information on all our facilities, finances and our HSSE and CSR initiatives can be found at www.ictsi.com.

Baltic Container Terminal Helicopter Handling
Baltic Container Terminal Ltd. (BCT), Gdynia, Poland – Helicopter Handling

I believe that there is quite a bit of competition between various terminals to entice shipowners to call just their terminal. How do you go about securing and maintaining customers, and how is the competition in the market for you currently?

The terminal/port business is very competitive. Significant infrastructure, equipment and IT investments are required to provide the shipowners with an efficient and safe operation. So, we invest on a large scale to ensure we have the handling and IT capabilities that our customers require.

Further, our terminals are empowered to deal directly with the clients and make quick decisions, thus being able to react to customer needs on a flexible and timely basis.

We also focus very much on the customer experience, being open and forthcoming in communication.


What are the strong points of ICTSI?

We are a publicly listed company, but operate day-to-day like a true family company, with the individual employee being empowered and taking responsibility. 

You will get a personal, quick, and flexible service in which we tailor-make solutions and resolve challenges on the spot.

In terms of HSSE, with more than 30-years experience, ICTSI has a proven track record of efficient, safe and reliable operation.

Many of the readers of Project Cargo Weekly are indeed project freight forwarders but also shipowners. Let us say that a freight forwarder has a certain project, and he wants to know if you, as a terminal, can handle it, but he hasn’t yet decided which shipowner he will use. Would you be willing to support and give input on that? Do you have experience in handling OOG and breakbulk pieces in your terminals?

We are very happy to welcome direct inquiries from project freight forwarders and assist them in finding the best solutions in a given market.

ICTSI has extensive experience handling OOG and breakbulk in many of our terminals, and we are keen to expand these activities further. We will, therefore, be very interested to develop new partnerships for breakbulk business, both with carriers and freight forwarders.

How is it best for our readers to get in touch with you?

I can be contacted on my email address:

Alternatively on my mobile phone:
+971 56 2166877