GAC celebrates 60 years in Kuwait with big party
Filip Bjorklund, GAC Kuwait’s current Managing Director, recently hosted a 60th anniversary celebration at the Radisson Blu Ballroom which gathered together GAC’s Chairman Lars Safverstrom, old GAC pioneers, key customers, service providers and representatives of the Kuwait port and government authorities. In 1956, Kuwait was in the grip of its early development phase. Everything was being built: ports, roads, hospitals, schools, power stations.
The list was long. Cement was a highdemand import and vessels were lined up offshore waiting to bring their cargoes to land in lighters, barges, anything that could float. Into this frenzied world stepped a polite man from Sweden. Bertil Ahlm was GAC’s first manager. His first challenge was to act as a ship agent to get those thousands of bags of cement into the hands of the construction teams onshore. He was also aiming to set up a travel agency but in the end, the travel agency went nowhere and the ship agency took off.
60 years later, in 2016, GAC Kuwait’s Managing Director, Filip Bjorklund, is in charge of a full-service company, covering ship agency, in which GAC remains a market leader, and all elements of the supply chain: air freight, sea freight, transport, warehousing, offshore support, husbandry. Again, the list is long. “Since those early days, GAC has expanded and is now a global company with 300 offices in more than 50 countries, but it all started in Kuwait, and to my knowledge no other company has expanded from Kuwait to cover every corner of the world” says Bjorklund.
“We have a network of teams around the world that can respond to customer needs anywhere, anytime. “We still have our Swedish roots and our Scandinavian approach to business and our emphasis is on integrating our services so that our customers can choose the service mix that best suits their needs.” “We put up photos from our archives showing how things looked in the 1950s and they made such a vivid contrast with what Kuwait is today.” he says. “It was a fantastic to see the journey we’ve taken to get here and even more exciting to see where the journey will take us next.”