Week 50 has arrived and in two weeks the Western New Year celebration begins. Whilst people in most parts of the western world are gearing up and caught in the rat race that includes buying presents, making next years budgets, and trying to do seven things at once like an octopus but with only two hands. Well, holiday or not, one phenomenon persists, the frustration around having to wait in queue on a customer service call to XYZ company. The recording typically sounds like “….right now we are experiencing a high volume of calls, you will be connected with a customer service representative in approximately twenty-two minutes.” After 30 minutes the situation remains the same, and the recording repeats ad nauseam.
In an interconnected and digitalised world, it is almost impossible to actually speak to a human being, customer service seems to be out of the window and the personal touch has been forgotten.
Its a bit like the embassies with opening hours from Monday to Wednesday from 0930 to 1100, Thursdays 0930 to 1500 and closed on Fridays! Similar to the long waits at passport control on entry to most countries where only 3 out of the 10 booths are actually open.
All of this while Europe has over 10 million unemployed. In Scandinavia, we pay people to be unemployed rather than giving them a chance at a job, even with a reduced salary, in order to get them onto the ladder.
I wonder how long we can sustain high taxes and low levels of service before people have had enough and aren’t going to take it anymore.
The OOCL slogan “taking it personally” is the right approach, and everyone hopes it will continue even after COSCO takes over.
Back to business, we have a great carrier in store for you today in Maersk Line, with an interview focused on their South America trade which will surely become stronger in the market after the purchase of Hamburg Süd.
For the second interview this week, we get a fascinating glimpse into a well-established shipping agent in the West Africa trade. We speak to Hull and Blyth who seem to have the relationships in a place where the rest of us find it difficult to operate.
In this edition, we also feature an impressive project shipment from my former company, Martin Bencher Group, followed by sector news, and the video, photo and wise words of the week.
Until our final issue of 2017 next week, I remain,
Bo H. Drewsen
Maersk Line’s South America Trade
Mr. Daniel Meewes
Regional Head of Special Cargo, Europe & Africa
With the recent take over of Hamburg Süd, will your capacity increase or will you consolidate instead?
We, both Maersk and Hamburg Süd, will keep our capacity as it is, but in case space is getting tight we each have the possibility to dip into the other’s allocation. So on big projects, we certainly benefit from the new set up.
Hull Blyth Group – UK
Mr. Andreas Posdziech
Group Business Development Manager
What are your strongest markets or countries in Africa in your opinion?
For us, the strongest markets have always been Nigeria and Ghana. In view of the declining oil & gas sector and, you could say the downturn of the entire shipping industry, Nigeria has experienced a severe recession over the last two years. We are glad to say that we are now reaching the end and we see some light at the end of the tunnel. Volumes are picking up again and a growing consumer confidence has been noted lately.
ARKONA 60 X 300 Metric Ton Transition Pieces
Martin Bencher shipped the transition pieces for the ARKONA Offshore Wind Farm on behalf of manufacturer Bladt Industries A/S from Denmark to Germany. Martin Bencher was responsible for the ocean transport and project management. Martin Bencher engineered, produced and installed a special sea-fastening system in the ocean-going vessel.
All 60 x 300 ton transition pieces were transported in upright position.
Martin Bencher delivered full QHSE package complying with the high standards for the project and the offshore industry.
Shanghai port goes hi-tech to defend global shipping hub status…
Bulgaria Signs Deal to Invest in Iran’s Solar Energy Projects
A Bulgarian company signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Iran to develop solar photovoltaic infrastructure in the Iranian central city of Jahrom. Read more…
Biomass Power Station with Turbine Technology by MAN Diesel & Turbo
The Japanese Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding Co., Ltd. has commissioned MAN Diesel & Turbo to supply the central turbine technology for a biomass power station in the Bay of Tokyo. Read more…
Vestas Nakes 77MW China Play
The deal is for 35 V110-2.0MW machines optimised to 2.2MW with hub heights of 137 metres. Delivery and commissioning are expected to start in the first half of 2018. Read more…
Ports & Harbours
Bromma Wins All Electric Spreader Upgrade at Felixstowe
Bromma has received an order for 13 YSX40E all-electric spreaders from the Port of Felixstowe which will replace aging equipment and help clean up operations. The order which will be commissioned in 2018 includes options for another 12 + 12 spreaders for delivery in 2019 and 2020. Read more…
Mining & Minerals
Downer, Ausenco Awarded $312m Carrapateena Contract
South Australian copper and gold miner Oz Minerals has awarded engineering groups Downer EDI and Ausenco a $312-million contract at the Carrapateena mine. Read more…
Hong Kong-based Johnson Electric Expands Toronto and Hamilton, Ontario Operations
Hong Kong based Johnson Electric, a global leader in electric motors and motion subsystems for automotive manufacturing and other industries, will invest $351 million in new equipment and capacity in Greater Toronto and Hamilton, Ontario. Read more…
Plants & Processing
Takigawa Corp of Japan to Establish First Operation in Kentucky
Gov. Matt Bevin today announced Takigawa Corp. Japan, a flexible packaging and high-performance films producer, will create 180 full-time jobs with a nearly $46 million investment to locate a manufacturing operation in Bardstown, its first in the United States. Read more…