Week #14 | 4 April 2019
It is Thursday April 4th and we are here again, like clockwork. For me, the month of April is a month when I have promised to stay at home as I have been warned that my failure to do so will result in grave consequences. I suppose many of us might have found ourselves in the same boat or situation, trying to balance the needs for a loving and active family life with an active business life that sometimes requires you to travel and meet contacts in person.
I believe that finding the balance between our business and family lives is perhaps the most horribly difficult challenge that I have come across. There’s no doubt in my mind that it was a major contributing factor to a couple of divorces that I’ve been through previously. Firstly, as many of us know, divorces never come cheap. Secondly, they take a very long time to recover from, especially when there are children involved. There are many good books to read on the subject, but no book can really prepare you for the reality, can it? Anyhow, one does need to understand the ways that money is earnt and how a business is run. Unfortunately, in big business these things cannot be achieved through getting home at 4pm, doing half the laundry, half the dishes and providing enough steaks in the freezer. So yes, I do feel for quite a few business people who are caught up in the rat race and the hamster wheel, trying to reconcile business and private lives. One thing that long flights are good for is granting us time for contemplation in peace and quiet. Well, mainly.
Besides having had time to think about that, this past week I’ve had time to think about the question of what container ship owners wish to do in the field of freight forwarding. It doesn’t seem to be very clear at all. I mean, several global container ship owners have access to (either fully owned or separately branded) logistics outfits. However, almost all of those relationships end in appalling results or suffer from incompetent management or lack of in-depth ownership support. Still, perhaps now the tide has started to change, because going ashore is becoming the only alley left for ship owners looking to make a decent return on investment. It’s still early days and time will tell, but it’ll be an interesting battle between the ship owners who want to be end-to-end providers and those logistics giants who’ve been working with them. My hope is that there always will be room for the innovative, fast and service-minded companies in our business. If history is any guide then I should feel confident, however nowadays cashflow rather than shipping skill is sometimes the deciding factor in awarding business, so who knows. The digitalization of our business is developing too. With more-or-less smart software promising to solve all your problems, we may all be out of a job one day. I still doubt it though, so clinging to project or niche cargo of all kinds is, in my view, a long-term bet.
Businesswise, this week I decided to republish a few interviews that I conducted earlier. You will learn about Africa, Brunei and the USA from them and I hope that you will still find them interesting to read or re-read. Also, given the fact that we now have many new readers, according to our database, we should be finding new fans. I must also admit that this does give me a few days to get back on track from a fourteen-day Asia trip with its follow up and what not, enabling me to prepare fresh interviews for week fifteen.
Naturally, we provide you with both trade intelligence and shipping news as well as an interesting photo and video of the Week, before ending with Wise Words for us all.
Until next week,
Tell us when Navitrans was established, who owns the company today and where you are headquartered?
Navitrans was established in 1979, initially created to provide liners representation in a few west African countries.
Since Navitrans take over in 2015, partial at first stage, Navitrans has grown tremendously, growing from 8 countries to 20 in two years. We are a fully private company and owned by Mr and Mme Vedrine. Navitrans head office is located in Nyon, Switzerland, in the canton of Vaud.
First off, Mitchell tell us about yourself. When did you start your career in shipping and freight forwardin? What made you choose this kind of career? Not so many people know about Brunei except perhaps that there is a rich sultan living there. How is the life generally in Brunei, is it a place to visit for tourists?
I’m Mitchell Leong, the operations manager for Jasra Logistics Sdn Bhd based in Brunei. I have been working with Jasra for the past 14 years. Jasra Logistics deals mainly with lifting & transportation services and in 2009 we ventured out to include freight forwarding.
Brunei is a small country located in the North of Borneo Island. (Nearby Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia). Generally, the life in Brunei is slow paced but peaceful and a great place to raise kids. Brunei is a tax-free country, with free medical care, education and a subsidized housing scheme. Brunei is a Monarchy state Ruled by the 29th Sultan of Brunei, His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah. Brunei is a place to visit for tourist but depending on what each individual would want to see, there are no Orchard Road or Bintang Walk shopping, but being with friendly locals, beautifully preserved rainforest, traditional culture, a few museums, palaces, amusement parks, different types of food to name a few.
First of all Julien please tell us about DT Project America. When was the company established? Where are your offices located and where is your group headquarter? For how many years have you worked in DT Project and what is your origin, nationality?
I am a 31 year old French national who worked in India, China and Canada before starting DT Project America in Atlanta back in 2013. DT Project America is the US branch of DT Project which belongs to the Dimotrans Group. We are specialized in complex supply chain management and emergency logistics for oversized and heavy lift pieces.
Presentation: Savan Logistics Laos
Last week in Bangkok I had the pleasure of meeting with Mr. Jean Pierre Grzelczyk, CEO of Savan Logistics in Laos. They run a dry port in a country that is unknown to most of us. Jean Pierre has been in the region since the 1990’s so he knows what he is talking about. I think sharing his company presentation would serve a good purpose for all of you to get to know and potentially to pay a visit to the country of Laos which has quite a strategic location between China, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia and Myanmar. www.savanlogistics.com
Beijing plans ‘strategic service and logistics base’ on Woody Island, two islets in South China Sea
I have passed through the South China Sea a few times both north and southbound and it is an interesting place not least because of the many tiny islands spread around with several nations claiming “ownership” of them. Here is an interesting article from SCMP about the latest development in the region that could see another face off between the 2 big children in the sandbox ie US and China.
Sansha city says it held a meeting on the development which would follow though on a central government directive.
It came after US challenge in the region and criticism of ‘China’s illegal island-building in international waterways’
Three cities have been jointly named as the world’s most expensive in 2019
Cost control is vital ALSO for the shipping and logistics industry. Therefore it is worthwhile looking into the report from The Economist listing “worldwide cost of living 2019” and see the details of the worlds most expensive cities to be living in. No surprise that some of the cities high on the list are ALSO sought after hubs for shipping people.
One would have thought that in an internet world location would not matter, but alas or luckily we still have to be “around” where it happens.
SAL Heavy Lift and Davila Group come together to establish SAL Heavy Lift, Spain
SAL Heavy Lift GmbH is proud to announce that together with its Spanish business partner Grupo Davila (Davila Group), a new entity has been formed to represent SAL in the Spanish market.
As of 1 April 2019, SAL Heavy Lift, Spain will open its doors to Spanish clients. In charge will be Sr. Carlos Claramunt Lebrón – a familiar name to many, who brings 15 years of commercial and technical experience in the maritime industry to the role.
Campaign for Greater Container Safety Must Focus First on Dangerous Goods
TT Club are right. Safety first always in particular in light of several disastrous and deadly fires onboard containerships lately…
The recent reports of container ship fires has once more focussed those in the container supply chain on safety issues related to the incorrect processing of dangerous goods. The nascent Cargo Integrity campaign initiated by the international transport and logistics insurer, TT Club has as a consequence gained renewed impetus.
FLSmidth to deliver new cement production line in Vietnam
Xuan Thanh Cement has awarded FLSmidth a contract to deliver equipment for a brownfield cement production line in Ha Nam province in Vietnam. The contract has a value of around DKK 550 million.
Outotec awarded a pellet plant expansion contract by JSC Stoilensky GOK in Russia
Outotec and Russian iron ore pellet producer JSC Stoilensky GOK (S-GOK), which is a part of NLMK Group, have entered into a contract to expand S-GOK's pellet plant located in Stary Oskol, Russia. The approximately EUR 15 million order has been booked in Outotec's 2019 first quarter order intake.
ABB wins contract to power the first Chinese-built cruise vessel
ABB has been awarded a contract to supply an integrated package, including two Azipod® steerable propulsion systems, for the construction of China’s first ever home-grown cruise ship. ABB’s deep domain knowledge in cruise technology coupled with its local expertise makes it the perfect partner to support this significant milestone in the evolution of China’s shipbuilding industry.
NZ’s Mercury to break ground of 119-MW wind project this summer
New Zealand power producer Mercury NZ Ltd announced plans to spend NZD 256 million (USD 174.1m/EUR 154.5m) on building a 119-MW wind farm in New Zealand’s Manawatu-Wanganui region.
The state-owned company said in a bourse filing it has obtained approval to build 60 turbines and transmission infrastructure at the site, in proximity to another area where it has plans for a 53-turbine wind farm. It intends to launch on-site construction works and start installing the first 33 turbines, totalling 119 MW, around August. The capital cost of the project will be funded from the company’s existing debt facilities.
Relaxing in Kingston
The editor here relaxing in the swimming pool nearby mv Thyra Torm, alongside in Kingston, Jamaica. The year was 1968 and I was 5 years old. Note the heavy derrick onboard the Thyra Torm quite a heavylifter in its day which likely is why it was chartered to K-Line as I vaguely recall.
How Container Ships Work
A rather nice and simplified explanation of container shipping can be viewed here. You may show to anyone not well versed into the in’s and out’s of modern container shipping and worldwide trade, such as some shipping managers perhaps that actually never were in port or onboard but still “know a lot” about shipping….