Arben Santos

Hall of FAME


President & CEO

Southwest Group of Companies

Arben started his career in the shipping and maritime industry immediately after graduating from the Ateneo in 1970. He worked for Baliwag Navigation Inc. (BNI), a newly established company that ventured into the shipping industry and part of the Baliwag Group of Companies. Baliwag was already a leader in land transportation in Luzon, “Baliwag Transit”. Arben was eventually promoted to Managing Director of BNI and under this leadership, BNI grew to be one of the principal players in the local shipping and maritime industry.

In July of 1992, however, Arben left Baliwag Navigation, and decided to strike out on his own leaving the comforts of a large and well-funded organization that was Baliwag Group. Together with five shipping associates & business partners, he organized and incorporated SOUTHWEST MARITIME CORPORATION (“SWMC or Southwest”). This was a big challenge as SWMC started out with very minimal invested funds, barely enough for start-up operating funds for a 20-man organization. He believed however that the combined 200 years of experience of his people and the reputation they have built through the years with their principals abroad will carry them through the challenges of starting a new venture.

Today, this shipping group is known as “THE SOUTHWEST GROUP OF COMPANIES" and ARBEN SANTOS serves as the Group’s President & CEO is credited in the shipping industry circles as the “key man and leader” behind all these developments.

Hand-in-hand with this professional success, Arben demonstrates being a "man for others". He has always been a man who goes out of his way to reach out and help others whenever he is in a position to do so. He is generous to a fault. He helps without expecting anything in return and looks after the welfare of his employees. He has never fired an employee, invested in a maritime school, helped develop and guide upcoming sportsmen, and brought many of those he hired, especially Management Engineering graduates, to responsible positions in his company.

By Roberto Atendido