It is Thursday the 19th of March, and I am writing to you from the home office.
The home office, although being my normal place of work, is now a reality for most of us. As I understand from my children in the banking sectors in London and New York, it is also a reality for them, and God knows how many other places worldwide.
The corona virus takes its toll around the world, and panic seems slowly but surely to be setting in. Just last week, the Scandinavian Airline SAS asked 10,000 employees (equal to 90% of their staff) to take a forced break from work, and time will show if they will be able to return. A kind of depressed mood has set in, and everything seems to be on hold. All Apple stores outside China have been closed, and Google has some 100k employees working from home currently.
It’s a matter of containing the spread of the virus which is also why I told my wife that I can no longer assist her in the kitchen due to the social distance that we need to keep. 😉 (As if I ever did spend much time there doing anything besides eating.) Yet, in a time of crisis and seriousness, somehow life has to go on. We adapt, overcome, and with a good portion of humour, life does get easier.
Perhaps something good can come out of this crisis, too. There will be plenty of time to spend with your family, time to contemplate the life you have lived so far—perhaps for some of you in the fast lane, the rat race, stretching to get this or that gadget. Somehow, it all loses importance when lives are at stake, doesn’t it? It becomes a matter of overall health, in particular, when you face an enemy you can’t see.
My editorial would be 20 pages long if I listed the events that have been either cancelled outright or postponed, but I can say that AntwerpXL has now been delayed from April 21-23l to September 15-17.There is a press release about it under shipping news. Besides being overwhelmed by coronavirus news and coverage, I did manage to do some practical work today.
I drove to the port of Stockholm/Norrvik which is located some 45 km south of the Swedish capital to welcome the arrival of yet another semi-sub vessel from China organised by COSCO. This time the cargo included 2 ship-to-shore cranes for the new port, and 6 straddle carriers and 2 ship-to-shore cranes for the port of Dunkerque where the vessel is headed later on.
It was a fantastic sight to be alongside, welcoming the vessel together with a lot of other dignitaries, all in yellow jackets and wearing helmets. I shall be sharing some drone footage with you as well in the issue next week, but for now, you can find pictures and videos here that I was able to take as an amateur using a Huawei P30 pro.
On the shipping front, today, we got two fresh interviews and ‘“resuscitated” one from the archives. We start off with a reputable German company called COLI Logistics. Due to their excellent relationships with owners worldwide, they are able to help anyone it seems. We then pay the country of France a visit, and we immediately rush to the city of the French Connection (a movie with Gene Hackman if you recall), i.e. Marseille. We talk to Martin Bencher France which partly belongs to the Martin Bencher Group and to their local managing director—who is well known to me, as is the company itself. They have done well in a difficult market and have grown rapidly since they started offering project cargo solutions in the conservative French market. We finally revisit the Emirates—or rather Dubai—and speak to MBM Logistics which is a reliable, local freight forwarder superbly connected in the Emirates and beyond.
Rounding off this newsletter, we share with you shipping news, trade intel, and our usual features of the week, including wise words.
Wishing you all health, safety, and happiness.
Until next Thursday, I remain,
Bo H. Drewsen
COLI Logistics GmbH – Hamburg, Germany
Mr. Patrick Zernikow
First of all, Patrick, tell us why you got into shipping in the first place and how you ended up as MD of COLI Logistics GmbH?
Due to the fact that my grandfather was a shipowner, I got in touch with the shipping business very early, actually from the time I was a child. Shipping was always a topic in our family. When I was a child, my father and I went to the port of Bremerhaven and could get very close to the ships. In those days, it was still possible, because it was before 9/11. Even though shipping and logistics is part of my daily life, for me it is still unbelievable how such big ships can keep afloat and carry so much cargo.
Martin Bencher SAS – Marseille, France
Mr. Floris Schorsch
First of all, Floris, please tell our readers about your shipping background. I understand you have a past with CMA CGM. And before that? What made you enter a career of shipping and freight forwarding originally?
I have always been attracted to the sea. My father was a seaman. Logically at 19, I joined the Merchant Marine High School in Le Havre. I became an officer (deck & engine). I started my career at CMA CGM sailing on-board container ships. After four years, I joined the CMA CGM head office where I held several positions, including four years as owner’s rep in Ukraine and Chile. From 2007 to 2001, I managed and developed the project cargo division at CMA CGM. I then started working closely with project freight forwarders.
MBM Logistics LLC – Dubai U.A.E.
Mr. Haridas Kondath
Tell us about MBM Logistics. When was the company established, who owns the company? I understand that it is customary to have a local U.A.E. company as “sponsor” or back up as a business partner in order to establish yourself in the country.
MBM was established in 2014 by myself & H.E. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Juma Al Maktoum. Currently, I own 80% of the company. Our intention was to create a company which caters to the Expo 20/20 and the projects that would be expected during that time.
You need a local sponsor, he could be part of the business or just a silent partner where 51% on paper belongs to the local. In our case, H.E owns 20%. He is not involved in any manner in the business.
Coronavirus – Port of Antwerp Remains Operational
On 12 March, the Belgian government announced special measures to limit the spread of Covid-19. At the same time, the prime minister asked for important sectors of industry including the port to keep their activities going. Port of Antwerp is facing up to its responsibility and is making it a priority to keep the port fully operational.
Easyfairs to Run New Autumn Edition of AntwerpXL
Antwerp XL originally scheduled for 21-23 April which PCW supports has been postponed to 15-17 September at Antwerp Expo, Belgium.
Antwerp XL is where the world’s leading players in breakbulk gather to connect, learn, innovate and do business. Taking place 15 – 17 September in the European hub of the industry, the event gives cargo owners, ports, carriers, forwarders, and all those working in breakbulk logistics the connections and the know-how to overcome any obstacle, and deliver without fail.
The 3rd Issue of the Wallem Pulse Magazine
Wallem is a famous ship-management company headquartered in Hong Kong. Their latest newsletter always guarantees interesting reading from a variety of places and it touches base on different parts of shipping and logistics.
March 2020 – Special bulletin from Fednav
Whilst publishing newsletters here is a sample of the latest from Fednav, an interesting company and more global than just Canadian. They also have very nice video presentations here.
At Fednav, we take health very seriously—that of our employees, their families, and our communities—and of our business operations. By doing so, you can rely on us for the same level of service you are accustomed to as we continue to navigate the COVID-19 situation.
Starbucks to Invest $130 Million For Roasting Plant in China’s Kunshan
Starbucks will invest RMB 900 million ($130 million) to build the first phase of a coffee complex in the Chinese city of Kunshan, near the commercial hub of Shanghai, with completion targeted for 2022, it said on Friday, reported Reuters.
SLK Cement Plans Modernisation for Alternative Fuels Usage
Italy-based Buzzi UniCem subsidiary SLK Cement has concluded an environmental agreement with the Sverdlovsk Oblast Ministry of Energy and Housing and Communal Services for the co-processing of solid municipal waste at its 1.0Mt/yr Sukholozhskcement plant. AMF Online News has reported that the transition, part of a nationwide government initiative called simply ‘Ecology,’ entails a modernisation of the kiln line, which the company says will be commissioned in 2023 or 2024.
Rubber Group Plans to Build Three Processing Plants in Northern Region
The Vietnam Rubber Industry Group (VRG) will invest in three more processing factories in the northern region as the rubber output is expected to increase in the coming time.
Air Products to Provide Technology to Mozambique LNG Project
Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. (APD – Free Report) has signed a deal to offer its patented liquefied natural gas (LNG) technology, equipment and associated process licensing and advisory services to the Mozambique LNG Project.
Straddle Carrier Being Rolled Off COSCO Zhen Hua 32 at Port of Stockholm/Norrvik
Eight straddle carriers were successfully rolled off the vessel COSCO Zhen Hua 32 to the port of Stockholm/Norrvik on 19th of March, 2020.
In virus times I started to miss flying already!