Q&A with Mr. Edwin de Vries, Director Wagenborg Offshore/Projects & Logistics
What areas of the world does Wagenborg cover mainly? Are you running a liner service or more of a tramp service into different areas? Where would you say that your main route strength is?
Wagenborg is a maritime logistic company and offers worldwide trading and chartering. Since its foundation, chartering has been one of the most important pillars of Wagenborg, and with about 180 vessels in our fleet, which are owned by Wagenborg and affiliated captain owners, Wagenborg is now one of the largest players in the segments it operates in the Baltic, Northwest Europe, the Mediterranean and the Americas (with a focus on the Great Lakes area). Due to these trade areas and client base, Wagenborg has a focus on multipurpose and dry bulk vessels with ice class.
Wagenborg specializes in forestry products, consisting of paper reels, wood pulp, timber props and timber packages. We also carry other goods like steel products and project cargo such as cranes, trains, pipes, yacht’s and wind turbine components. Large cargo quantities of agro, aluminium related, chemical products and general bulk and commodities are also shipped.
What type of ships carrying project cargo do you currently have in service?
Our fleet is modern and environmentally friendly, and with the enormous diversity in type and tonnage we are able to offer just-in-time shipments for large cargo contracts as well as spot shipments. The modern fleet consists of about 180 vessels, ranging in size from 1,700 to 23,000 tons. The fleet largely consists of box shaped, ice-strengthened dry-cargo vessels. Wagenborg is active in the dry-cargo segment with ice-strengthened bulk carriers and multi-purpose vessels. With our diversity in size and tonnage we offer transport solutions to the market. With an average age of 8,7 years, our fleet is one of the youngest in the world. And recently we launched our latest ship design – the EasyMax, an ice classed open top multipurpose vessel with a huge cargo intake.
Tell us a bit about the history of Wagenborg and your roots in the Netherlands.
Wagenborg is a family owned and managed company, founded in 1898 by Mr. Egbert Wagenborg in the Dutch city of Delfzijl. Within over a hundred years the company expanded from a local shipping company to a worldwide operating company with many offices around the world. Our head office is still based here in Delfzijl, the Netherlands. Besides several Dutch offices and branches we have representative offices in Sweden, Germany, Greece, Spain, Canada, Dubai, Russia, the Philippines, China and Finland. A total of 30 branches from which 3.000 employees are employed.
Who are the points of contact within Wagenborg for customers located in:
Europe: Mr. Edwin de Vries, Director Wagenborg Offshore/Projects & Logistics
South America: Mr. Regis Gama, Market Manager South America
Asia: Mr. Paul Bakker, Manager Business Development China
North America: Mr. Marco Renzelli, Managing Director Wagenborg Shipping North America Inc.
I understand that Wagenborg is very capable in carrying project cargo for the oil/gas and renewable energy industries – can you elaborate a bit on some of the projects that you have carried recently?
As I mentioned before, Wagenborg is a maritime logistics company. This means we not only manage a fleet of multipurpose vessels, but we are also able to offer a wide range of tugs and pontoons (up to a cargo capacity of 20.000 tons). This addition gives our clients a flexible transport solution which results in a diversity of projects in the oil/gas and renewable industries. A recent project involved the shipments of wind turbine components, such as blades, tower pieces, transition pieces, but also the heavy top sides.
From your excellent website www.wagenborg.com it appears that you have offices in places such as Kazakhstan and other “inland” countries, how come?
Besides our worldwide shipping activities, Wagenborg is also actively involved in the offshore industry. These offshore activities are focusing on the North Sea, with our walk-to-work vessel KROONBORG, the Caspian Sea in Kazakhstan and other regions where our knowledge on ice infested and/or shallow waters may come in handy. With a fleet of ice breaking offshore vessels, supply vessels, accommodation vessels and anchor handling tugs, Wagenborg can support major offshore projects such as the Suez Canal Expansion Project (Egypt), Prorva Project (Kazakhstan) or the Tetney Sea Line Project (UK).
Wagenborg is also more than a pure shipowner, correct? Is it true that you also provide services to remote destinations for certain projects?
Yes, correct. Wagenborg has extensive experience in remote destinations characterized by ice or shallow waters. We inherited our experience in shipping in ice from decades of trade in the Baltic. Besides that we operate a ferry service in the Netherlands on the Wadden Sea, an environmentally sensitive area and very shallow sea. Combining these experiences opens doors to remote areas such as the Caspian Sea and Northern Arctic waters, such a the Kara Sea and Laptev Sea. Talking about remote destinations, last year Wagenborg sailed as the first European shipping company through the north west passage from China to the east coast of Canada without any assistance of icebreakers.
Tell us about your own career in shipping Mr. De Vries. How did you enter into the shipping industry in the first place?
I started my career in Shipping & Logistics in 1993, after finalizing my MBA. In these years I have been active in a Business Development role. From 1998 until 2006 I made a sidestep towards the chemical industry. During these years I have been a plant manager and business line manager of an adhesive factory in the Northern part of the Netherlands. After 2006 my career went back into logistics and shipping again. Since May 2010 I have been working for Wagenborg as a Director for Offshore/ Projects and Logistics.