Thomas Damsgaard, Regional Manager, Americas, BIMCO

Thomas is planting the BIMCO flag in the Americas

Published: 13 July 2022

“We’ve hit the ground running – we’ve barely been here a month and are already getting approached about SmartCon, training and how to join BIMCO.”

That’s from Thomas Damsgaard, BIMCO’s new Regional Manager for the Americas, who’s opening BIMCO’s newest office in Houston.

“We’re establishing BIMCO as a legal entity in the US and expect to be formally up and running by 1 August”, he adds.

But Thomas’ connection with BIMCO isn’t new. “My conversation about raising the BIMCO flag in the Americas started back in 2017, when we collaborated on an industry-leading cyber security symposium. So you could say that we planted the seed for a BIMCO presence in the Americas back then, and now that seed is ready to blossom – and maritime in the Americas will be able to harvest its fruits.

We asked Thomas a few more questions about the plans for the new Houston office and BIMCO’s goals for the region as a whole.

What’s on your horizon in the longer term?

Bringing BIMCO front and centre within the industry is a key task. Engaging not just with members but also collaborating with other interest organisations and raising the flag at industry events is also a key focus. Looking into the crystal ball, I see BIMCO’s profile in the Americas acknowledged as a maritime leader both supporting members transactional business but also as a facilitator in transformation. 

We also have a goal to have companies from the Americas represented on BIMCO’s Executive Committee and Board of Directors, as well as other BIMCO committees.

It’s my wish that BIMCO will be able to help bring maritime in the Americas closer together across the entire value chain. One way to achieve this is leveraging regional advisory committees dealing with specific challenges from an industry perspective and not just company level. I’m looking forward to facilitating this.

What are the plans for rest of the region – outside the US?

The geographical reach of the Americas office in Houston is from Alaska in the north to Ushuaia in the south, and from Hawaii in the west to the Bahamas in the east. It’s the whole of the Western Hemisphere.

It’s very important to us that establishing BIMCO here benefits maritime in the whole of the Americas and not just the US. We have important members in Canada as well as Central and South America. They are key markets for shipping and we are here as a resource and support for them. 

Just in our first month, we’ve engaged with stakeholders in South America and have received unsolicited membership requests from Central America. This shows there is an interest in the value BIMCO brings to the entire region. And we’ve also received an invitation to give a presentation in Canada.

If any industry transcends borders and regions, it is Maritime, and being global while supporting local is a key driver for BIMCO. We will be providing our entire pallet of services throughout the Americas. 

What made you say “yes” to the job heading the new BIMCO office in Houston? What attracted you the most and why?

I ‘ve benefited first-hand from BIMCO engaging with regulators, its industry leading contracts and the support & advice in my over 30 year career as an owner, operator and service provider. I have experienced the awesome toolbox BIMCO provides to maritime. Bringing this to the various maritime segments in the Americas, and the opportunity for BIMCO as a true solution partner is what attracted me to BIMCO.

Looking ahead and imagining the one year anniversary of the Houston office, what are the biggest changes and/or achievements you would like to have seen and celebrate?

Needless to say, I have some important core membership accounts in my sights, which I hope will be onboard within the next year, contributing to our overall goal for membership by deadweight tonnage.

In addition, I see BIMCO providing a lot of value to the industry, especially through training for the cargo interests such as freight forwarders. I would like to look back on year one having held several in-person training events in both North and South America, as well as having online training a part of the management toolbox for members. Maybe even a summer shipping school in the Americas?

Fundamentally, having BIMCO integrated deeper into the broader Americas maritime value chain, acknowledged for its expert knowledge and its practical advice are how I wish to celebrate our first anniversary.

“I am truly excited to be part of BIMCO, and to have the opportunity to bring BIMCO to the Americas as a solution partner.”

CONTACT BIMCO

Communications Team

Copenhagen, Denmark