The Kanoo Group

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The Kanoo Group
Diversified Industrial Group, Conglomerate, Joint Ventures, Family Business
Industry shipping, travel, machinery, engineering, logistics, property, oil & gas, industrial chemicals, commercial activities, and services
Predecessor Yusuf bin Ahmed Kanoo
Founded 1960s
Founder Yusuf Bin Ahmed Kanoo
Headquarters United Arab Emirates
Key people
Mishal Hamed Kanoo (Chairman - UAE & Oman)
Divisions Kanoo Shipping, Kanoo Travel, Kanoo Holidays, The Travel Attaché, Kanoo Machinery, Kanoo Oil & Gas, Power & Industrial Projects, Kanoo Freight, Kanoo Rapid Transit (KRT), H.A.K Industrial Chemicals, Kanoo Exhibition Organizers, Kanoo Industrial Products, Kanoo Engineering, KANRENT, Stor-Mat Systems, BRC Arabia, Kanoo Business Centre (KBC), GEMINI

The Kanoo Group (Arabic: مجموعة كانو) is a large family-owned conglomerate based in UAE and Oman. It is a part of the parent company Yusuf Bin Ahmed Kanoo (established in 1890; 128 years ago (1890)), founded in Bahrain by Haji Yusuf Bin Ahmed Kanoo which started from a humble trading and shipping enterprise. From Bahrain, the business spread to Saudi Arabia in the 1930s.[1]

In 1967, Hamed Kanoo came from Saudi Arabia to the UAE to expand the family business. Having successfully established Yusuf Bin Ahmed Kanoo (YBA Kanoo)’s operations in Khafji in the Kingdom, the company asked him to replicate the same in UAE too. With only 5 people including him, Hamed Kanoo managed to put-up The Kanoo Group as a trade name in the UAE Map.[2]

At present, The Kanoo Group operates in UAE and Oman. Mishal Hamed Kanoo serves as the Chairman, with over 1,200 employees working for its divisions.

The Kanoo Group has long-standing partnership with companies serving various industrial sectors as its Joint Ventures[3] such as AXA Gulf,[4] AkzoNobel,[5] Freightworks,[6] BASF Kanoo Gulf,[7] Hydroturf,[8] Crane Industrial Services,[9] Johnson Arabia,[10] Maersk Kanoo,[11] Elastogran Kanoo,[12] Wolffkran,[13] SDV,[14] MOL,[15] Ahrend FZCO,[16] Middle East Container Repair,[17] and Obaikan Equipment & Services WLL, Qatar.[18]

Business overview[edit]

The family business first made its name in the shipping industry, challenging the long-established British firms that had come to dominate the Arabian Peninsula. Kanoo Shipping is the first Arab shipping agency in the region in 1911 and one of the founders of S5 Agency World Ltd.[19] At present, Kanoo Shipping is the largest regional shipping agency in the Middle East which operates in 20 countries and all principal ports and offshore tanker loading terminals around the Arabian Peninsula, including Iraq.[20][21]

Kanoo Shipping handles 15,000 port calls every year through its professional network, which covers all ports in the Suez to Sri Lanka range and East/South Africa.[22][23][24] In addition to its fully owned offices and joint ventures, the company’s regional network operates through established partners in Egypt, Jordon, Lebanon, Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Seychelles, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique and South Africa.[25]

Similarly, the family's involvement in the travel industry dated back to 1937 when Kanoo Travel began providing refuelling facilities for Imperial Airways, the first British commercial long-haul airline, for flights en route to India and Australia. In 1947, Kanoo Travel became the first IATA agency in the Middle East and the very first travel company in the Middle East to receive the ISO certification in 1997.[26]

In the mid-1960s, Kanoo Machinery used to supply construction and material handling equipment in the region. At that time, the UAE was just setting up its oil and gas industry and developing its infrastructure.[27]

Today, the family-run business[28] has diversified business industries from shipping, travel, machinery; to logistics, property, oil & gas, power industrial chemicals, training, joint ventures, retail and commercial activities, and operates extensively throughout Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Yemen and Qatar.[29][30][31]


Kanoo Shipping[edit]

Kanoo Marine

Kanoo Shipping is a regional shipping service provider in the Middle East.[21] With regionally centralised operations, finance and communications, the Kanoo office network, cover an extensive area, including the Persian Gulf, the Red Sea and Indian Sub-continent. Kanoo Shipping handles 15,000 port calls every year and has offices in 20 countries.[32][33][34]

  • Kanoo Marine (Marine Craft Operations) - Operates its own fleet of offshore service boats for transfer of personnel, spare parts, consumables and other requirements to vessels at anchorages and offshore locations; also with fleet of specialist offshore craft available for charter [35][36]
  • Port Agency - Provides handling of all owner’s or charterer’s husbandry and operational requirements on vessels calling at ports throughout the Middle East [37]
  • Liner Representation - Provides canvassing, commercial, documentation and operational supervision services required by regular liner operators at ports throughout the Middle East
  • Cargo Broking - Arranges shipping for non-containerized cargo e.g. projects, heavy lifts, vehicles, bulk parcels etc., moving both into and out of ports in the Middle East; using its global contacts of ship owners and operators
  • Kanoo CrewCare - Facilitates the transfer of On and Off Signing Crew and their baggage between international airports and vessels at ports and anchorages throughout the Middle East
  • Offshore Logistics - Provides husbandry and operational support to vessels engaged in installation, survey, and other offshore works such as securing work permits and vessel clearances, arranging crew and spares movement, organising local supplies and technical assistance and attending to medical and other emergencies
  • Kanoo Yacht Services - Kanoo Yacht Services[38] provides servicing of specialist requirements of Super Yachts throughout the UAE, as well as Oman, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Bahrain. It also offers a concierge service. Kanoo Yacht Services is the preferred and appointed Agent on yacht handling for the annual Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix.[39]

Kanoo Travel[edit]

Kanoo Travel represents a team of over 1,000 travel specialists in the region. It operates a network of over 100 IATA locations and travel partners[40][41][42][43][44] in key market areas in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Oman, Egypt, Lebanon, United Kingdom and France. It is one of the largest and oldest travel management companies in the Middle East.[45][46][47][48]

In 1980, Kanoo Travel began to represent American Express in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia solely as its official travel representative. Later in 2003, Kanoo Travel again signed a master franchise agreement with American Express that covered North Africa, the Levant, GCC including Iraq and the CIS countries.[49][50] Kanoo Travel works with the American Express Travel Service Network[51] throughout the Middle East by identifying and acquiring member agencies into the Kanoo Travel/American Express Middle East Franchise program.[52]

Mishal Kanoo graces the opening of a new Kanoo Travel Corporate Service Center in Dubai on 17th December 2012

American Express Middle East operates in 16 markets in the Middle East and North Africa region and issues dollar currency Credit and Charge Cards. It also offers a range of local currency-denominated Credit Cards which are accepted in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide.

  • Kanoo Corporate - Business Travel Services
  • Kanoo Limousine Services – for all VIP transfers
  • Kanoo Retail- Travel Services for the individual travellers
  • MICE – Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Events
  • Kanoo Holidays - For all type Leisure Travel
  • Kanoo Marine - Marine and Offshore Travel Services
  • General Sales Agents (GSAs) for international airlines
  • Visa Services


Kanoo Holidays[edit]

Kanoo Holidays is a specialist division of Kanoo Travel with office networks and dedicated Kanoo Holidays Centers in Riyadh, Jeddah, Al Khobar, Saudi; Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, and UAE.

The Travel Attaché[edit]

The Travel Attaché represents the Kanoo Travel brand as its inbound Destination Management Company and Luxury Travel Management arm.[54]

Kanoo Machinery[edit]

Kanoo Machinery LLC [55] is a construction, materials handling, floor cleaning and agricultural equipment distributor in the UAE. It offers its clients brands such as Grove, Hyster, Perkins, Bobcat, Tennant, Massey Ferguson,[56] Lincoln Electric, Norton, AUSA, Sullair, Beach Tech,[57] Aisle-Master, GEDA, Sakai and Utilev for its sales and aftermarket services. Products from these Principals are marketed through product specialist from sales and aftermarket in all its 5 branches (Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah) in the UAE.[58][59][60][61][62]

The Kanoo Group facility in Mussafah, Abu Dhabi
The Kanoo Group facility in Dubai
The Kanoo Group facility in Dubai


Kanoo Equipment Rental (KANRENT)[63] offers a large fleet of rentable equipment that is supported by a group of full-service workshops and a mobile team of onsite mechanics to keep the rented fleet fully operational at all times.

  • Hyster – Forklifts and Material Handlers
  • Bobcat – Telehandlers
  • Sullair – Electric & Diesel Powered Air Compressed
  • Aisle-Master – Material Handling
  • Utilev – Material Handling
  • Tennant – Contract Cleaning

Stor-Mat Systems[edit]

Stor-Mat Systems[64] was formed in March 1993 and officially became a member of The Kanoo Group in April 2011. Stor-Mat Systems is one of few locally based storage and material handling companies with the in-house expertise to carry out the design of complex storage facilities.

  • Storage Systems - The company represents manufacturers including Eonmetall and Metech.
  • Docking Equipment - Stor-Mat is the official agent of INKEMA dock levelling equipment and industrial doors. INKEMA specialises in providing integrated solutions for loading and unloading of goods and for access control through industrial doors and dock shelters.
  • Material Handling Equipment - Stor-Mat Systems represents brands such as Hyster, UTILEV and Aisle-Master for a range of forklifts and warehouse equipment in the industry.[65][66]

Kanoo Oil & Gas[edit]

Kanoo Oil & Gas supplies specialist products and services for the oil, gas and petrochemical industries in the Middle East. Some of its major clients include Saudi Aramco, SABIC, ADNOC, BAPCO, SEWA, DEWA, and PDO.[67]

Power & Industrial Projects[edit]

Kanoo Power & Industrial Projects (P&IP) used to operate as a General Trading Division and was changed to P&IP in 1999 to expand its operations and to increase its activities. Kanoo P&IP provides end-to-end industrial products and power and desalination products and services across the Middle East. These services include consultancy, product sales, equipment leasing & servicing. Some of its customers include Saudi Aramco, Emirates Airlines, GAMCO, ADMA-OPCO, ZADCO, and J.Ray McDermott.[68]

Kanoo Industrial Products[edit]

Kanoo Industrial Products (KIP), a part of Kanoo P&IP provides end-to-end industrial product solutions across industries. The services offered by KIP include consultancy, site survey for safety, product sales, equipment leasing and equipment servicing.

Strategic Business Units:

  • Machine Tools and Services - a range of CNC / Conventional machines
  • Industrial Corrosion Inhibitors - offers chemical technology, in partnership with Cortec Corporation USA. Cortec's range of products is based on the renowned "Vapor Phase Corrosion Inhibition" concept[69]
  • Industrial Tools & Consumables - MRO products and tools
  • Industrial Safety Products - a range of industrial safety products for various industrial applications. Also offers market-specific 'Products & Solutions' drawn together from its different product groups and 'Customer System Solutions' based on real market needs
  • Fall Protection, Confined Space & Rescue Systems - offers height safety equipment and services, in partnership with the Capital Safety Group (DBI Sala & Protecta). All equipment supplied meets international standards including, OSHA, ANSI, CSA & CE


Kanoo Rapid Transit (KRT) provides express deliveries and gulf-wide cargo distribution within the local market and lower Persian Gulf states. It was founded in 1990 and headquartered in UAE, with branches in Qatar and Oman. KRT also expanded its local services to cover Bahrain and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. UAE operations are controlled from Dubai through strategic offices throughout the country.

H.A.K Industrial Chemicals[edit]

H.A.K Industrial Chemicals (L.L.C.) is a supplier of speciality chemicals, equipment and other raw materials for specific industries located in UAE and the region.[70]

  • Composites (GRP) & Synthetic Marble
  • Paints & Coating, Printing Inks & Construction Chemicals
  • Rubber & Plastic products
  • Personal Care and Pharmaceutical
  • Adhesives, Cleaning & Water Treatment Chemicals

Kanoo Freight[edit]

Kanoo Freight LLC provides Supply Chain, Freight/Logistics and Brokerage Solutions in the region and around the globe through its GCC network offices in UAE, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Qatar, as well as international partners.[71]

  • International Freight Forwarding – Air or Marine
  • Specialized Export Packing
  • Door To Door Air and Marine Cargo
  • Sea-Air Cargo via Dubai, Consolidation and Contract Logistics
  • Customs Compliance & Transportation
  • Packing and Household Removal Services – Door to Door
  • Project & Heavy Lift Cargo Movements
  • Exhibition Services
  • Warehousing & Distribution
  • 3 PL Movements
  • Courier Services

Kanoo Exhibition Organizers[edit]

Kanoo Exhibition Services provides special project cargo services as well as several other services from travel to design and construction of exhibition stands. Kanoo Exhibition Services covers all major cities in the Middle East and expanding to cover other markets and regions.

  • Import and export of goods via air, sea and land
  • Clearing and forwarding
  • On-site handling
  • Stand design and construction
  • Travel and accommodation

Kanoo Engineering[edit]

The Kanoo Engineering facility in Dubai Industrial City[72]
Kanoo Engineering

Kanoo Engineering LLC[73] specialises in the design, drawing, supply, paint and installation of carbon and stainless steel products, such as:

  • Structural steel and architectural steel
  • ASME Pressure vessels
  • API Tanks
  • Storage silos
  • Overhead gantry cranes
  • Chimneys, ducting and chutes
  • Piping
  • Skid mounted assemblies, e.g. chemical injection/compressor etc.
  • Stainless steel balustrading
  • Stainless steel commercial kitchen furniture

Some of the clients handled include Claudius Peters, Toyota Plaza Bahrain, Al Rostamani Pegel LLC, NASA Multiplex Dubai, Wade Adams and Arabian Construction Company.

Engineering Services[edit]

Kanoo Engineering LLC has in-house Design/Engineering facilities to design and fabricate process equipment.

Manufacturing Services[edit]

Kanoo Engineering LLC has a purpose built 50,000 sq.ft. workshop consisting of two bays. The first bay is 93.455 m long and 26.5 m wide and contains 10T and 5T two EOT cranes, while the second bay is 76.42 m long and 26.94 m wide and contains 10T EOT cranes; and a separate facility of 50,000 sq.ft. for its stainless steel workshop. The total factory area is 300,000 sq.ft. The workshop is equipped with modern machinery for shearing, drilling, rolling, shaping, milling, pipe bending, plate bending, CNC machine etc. A separate bay is arranged outside the workshop bays equipped with blasting and painting facilities.

BRC Arabia LLC[edit]

The BRC Arabia facility in Dubai Industrial City, Seih Shuaib3, Dubai opens in November 2011 with a total built-up area of 11,600 sqm, consisting of Storage, Production Facilities and Offices

BRC Arabia LLC is a premier leader in reinforcing steel production[74][75] that offers a complete package for:

  • Cut & Bent Steel Rebar
  • Welded Wire Mesh
  • Cold Rolled/Drawn Steel Wires
  • Rebar Threading with Joint Couplers
  • Rebar Trading

The Kanoo Group completed the acquisition of balance shares of former joint venture partner BRC Arabia and became its sole owner on June 6, 2012. BRC has been headquartered in Dubai Industrial City Seih Shuaib 3 since November 2011. BRC Arabia was formerly known as BRC Arabia FZC and operated in Sharjah Airport Free Zone (SAIF) from 1996.

Kanoo Business Centre[edit]

Kanoo Business Centre (KBC) provides startup base for companies seeking to do business in the UAE. Located in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, KBC provides administration, accounting, and secretarial services.


GEMINI Software Solutions is owned by Yusuf Bin Ahmed Kanoo. GEMINI is based in Technopark, Trivandrum.[76]

Further reading[edit]

  • 1911 - Kanoo Shipping's first agency: The Arab Steamers LTD (1911)
  • 1945 - Kanoo Travel Agency became the first and only dedicated travel agency to exist in the Middle East
  • 1949 - YBA Kanoo installed the first automatic telephone; the number was "25"
  • 1950 - Kanoo Shipping's first lightering contract was signed with ARAMCO
  • 1960 - YBA Kanoo installed its first computer, an NCR 390[77]


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