By Shari Simon
SINCE opening its doors ten years ago as one of the first logistics service providers in the country, the Guyana Logistics and Support Services Inc. (GLASS) has transformed to become a household name while delivering a myriad of services to the country’s burgeoning oil and gas industry.
“We took a leap of faith,” said Glenn Low-A-Chee, the Managing Director of ‘Guyana Logistics’ and one of the founders instrumental in establishing the company.
In an exclusive interview with the Guyana Chronicle, Low-A-Chee explained that just before founding his own company he worked for a local oil company that was drilling a well.
His job then was customs brokerage, as well as supporting the company’s workers with acquiring visas, work permits, and housing accommodation.
By working in the industry and building specific expertise, Low-A-Chee said he started to recognise a growing demand for the services that he knew could ultimately transform sectors across Guyana.
Upon realising how crucial those services were to the oil and gas industry, Low-A-Chee, together with support from his team member, Charissa Cheong, launched the company that officially became incorporated in December 2011.
“Initially, GLASS was the first services company in Guyana focusing primarily on the oil and gas sector, and also foreign or expat companies that were operating in that space,” he shared.
It wasn’t until the year 2015 when ExxonMobil discovered oil off Guyana’s shores that the company began to experience a tremendous turnaround in its business operations after suffering the effects of a slowdown in offshore activities.
“We were at a point where we thought we would have to shut down because there wasn’t anything for us to do,” Low-A-Chee said before adding that, “we did some really good management in terms of our finances and resources, and we survived. And Exxon found oil.”
As the oil and gas industry’s growth started to catapult with additional exploration and discoveries, Low-A-Chee and the GLASS team began tailoring the company’s services to fit niche areas within the industry.
Today, the company’s clients include operators of the oil blocks and Tier 1 contractors in Guyana. Warehousing and laydown space, manpower and recruitment, supply chain management and procurement, construction, and relocation are some services offered by the company.
“We are also focused on our approach and we have a group of in-house departments that handle various aspects of the business,” said Low-A-Chee.
For the company’s warehousing and laydown space service, GLASS provides inventory management of materials that have to be transported offshore.
The GLASS Managing Director explained that these materials pass through the company’s warehouse and inventory system where checks are made to ensure there are no damages before transport to the rig or Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) unit.
With its manpower and recruitment service, GLASS recruits for new companies entering Guyana’s oil and gas industry. The company also keeps detailed records of its 140 plus employees who are working on the oil rigs and in offices of oil and gas companies within a number of capacities such as coordinators, contractors, accountants, clerks, maintenance personnel and engineers.
Additionally, as part of its supply chain management and procurement service that is based locally and internationally, there is a division to assist companies in Guyana to procure various items in order to support their robust value chains.
Under the company’s relocation and domestic support service, GLASS assists companies moving to Guyana to get visas, work permits, negotiate housing contracts with landlords, and put any other measures in place to make the operations as seamless as possible.
Much like Low-A-Chee’s origin, GLASS still provides customs brokerage which involves conducting export and import activities for clients. The company boasts providing infrastructural works and maintenance for a number of offshore facilities as part of its construction service.
Despite the extensive service portfolio and plans to take advantage of short, medium and long-term opportunities in the industry, Low-A-Chee maintains that the company is on a continuous learning path as it navigates the oil and gas landscape.
Presently, in addition to the oil and gas industry, GLASS also operates in the aviation, construction and mining sectors.
Over the years, the company has earned a reputation for its quality, reliable and accessible services delivered by a dynamic team of young Guyanese.
To maintain this reputation, GLASS has attained its ISO 9001:2015 certification to enhance the company’s processes and systems, as well as its capability to continue delivering quality services to its clients.
“We can now be able to compete on the same level with international companies that are operating in the local sector,” he noted.
Fortunately, GLASS has also seen positive developments with the implementation of the Local Content Policy. “We now have something to look forward to. Guyanese companies can now partner with foreign companies and there can obviously be that transfer of knowledge and skills across local sectors,” he stated.
According to Low-A-Chee, the local content legislation allows Guyanese companies to benefit from opportunities in the oil and gas industry.
Looking forward to future milestones, Low-A-Chee is optimistic about the pathway toward diversifying the company’s services and expanding into countries such as Suriname, United States of America, Canada and the European continent all while keeping up with the fast-paced oil and gas industry. “It is really an exciting time to be a Guyanese and to be living in Guyana!” he expressed.