Philippines’ Harbor Star Shipping to step up expansion to ASEAN neighbours

Harbor Star Shipping Services, a Philippine harbour assistance, lighterage, salvage, and towing service provider, recently announced their goal of expanding their tugboat operations to Indonesia and Myanmar. 

Harbor Star president and CEO Geronimo Bella, Jr., disclosed to the local press on Tuesday, March 6, the company’s plans of bringing their services to a much broader international market beginning with two of the Philippines’ ASEAN neighbours. 

Bella mentioned the recent signing of a contract between the company and the Myanmar Port Authority, which is currently constructing a tank farm for eventual use by one of the country’s largest oil companies. Harbor Star’s fulfillment of the contract entails providing tug assistance services for the tank farm just after its expected completion in the third quarter of this year. 

A similar arrangement is presently being finalised between Harbor Star and Pertamina, Indonesia’s state-owned oil and natural gas corporation, which is in need of additional tugs for its port operations. Bella also said the company plans to purchase six additional tugs from Japan at an estimated total cost of 300 million pesos (US$ 5.96 million) in anticipation of their increased operations. 

Harbor Star’s expansion follows in the wake of their having gained an initial foothold in the ASEAN regional market after securing a two-year charter contract with KA Petra, a Malaysian marine oil and waste management company, in February 2016. The contract calls for Harbor Star, through its Malaysian subsidiary Peak Flag, to provide ship-to-ship operations and related services in Malacca Strait. 

Established in 1988, Harbor Star provides services to 67 ports throughout the country plus another two ports in Malaysia. Their assortment of vessels includes one of the largest tug fleets in the Philippines with 42 tugs currently in operation.

Nelson E. Dela Cruz

Alex Baird

Alex Baird is the Managing Director of Baird Maritime