By Randy Fabi
Denis Welch says he is leaving the shipping arm of Dubai World in good shape.
The head of Drydocks World Southeast Asia resigned on Thursday to form a new Singapore-based consultancy group, saying he was leaving the shipping arm of Dubai World in good shape.
Denis Welch, who will head the new maritime consultancy One World Maritime, told Reuters his former company had secured a number of new shipbuilding deals and remained on track to increase its Indonesian workforce by at least 1,000 this year.
"I feel I am moving on at an opportune time," Welch said. "(Drydocks) has a good order book ... with additional business in the pipeline."
He would not elaborate on his former company's order book, which is estimated at $1 billion, largely unchanged from a year ago.
Oil rig and shipbuilders such as Singapore's Keppel Corp had few significant orders last year as plunging oil prices prompted major oil and gas explorers to delay or cancel orders placed in the boom years.
Welch said he decided to set up One World Maritime to take advantage of the growing number of maritime companies looking to expand their operations in Asia.
Chinese demand for commodities has become an increasingly pivotal factor driving freight market activity, prompting Deutsche Bank, Howe Robinson and others to increase their presence in the region.
"Confidence is returning, and the general mood is extremely positive," he said. "There is going to be a sharp rise in demand for offshore-related activities."
Welch said there was also growing interest from hedge funds and other investors to grab a large foothold in the shipping sector, which they believe will rebound sharply next year. (Reuters)