It is Thursday the 27th of August. It’s the last Thursday of this month, and that means we’ve got only four months left in this year!
There is an old saying that goes: The water tastes good but who dug the well? I have been thinking about this a bit during the past week since I have time for it—in particular when there is next to no traveling, my wife is studying at an online university, and the kids are in school.
Yes, I have been thinking that success never comes out of your own efforts alone, and really successful businessmen or women are always humble, recognizing people who were instrumental or helpful along the way. But there are also many who after clinging to you, start copying what you have done and leave you by the roadside, thinking that they can, in fact, do what you did. This is not so, and as another saying goes: Be yourself because the world loves an original.
I have tried most of the time (and hopefully with some success thinking back to work) to live according to the following self-made mantra: Be proud but NOT arrogant – Be humble but NOT crawling. It was even used as the main quote for the rather successful company of Martin Bencher Scandinavia that I founded together with a friend of mine in 1997.
Shipping has indeed provided many ups and downs, but overall, when I think back, meeting with a variety of people worldwide for more than 30+ years has left me with some everlasting memories of which 99% have been overwhelmingly good and the tiny 1% that aren’t, although painful at times, could never erase the 99%. The physical meetings, personal contacts, and having a drink in the bar discussing business whether it was in Perth, Tokyo, San Francisco, Cape Town, Shanghai or Malta simply never could be replaced by any online arrangement.
I would rather zoom in on a drink than zoom in on yet another static meeting with mute/unmute buttons. Still we adjust, adapt, and overcome. We hope that time passes quickly towards a successful vaccine to eradicate this COVID-19 pandemic, allowing us to be able to see eye to eye for real again.
The shipping and project freight forwarding business is still going on, and from a variety of sources that I checked this last week, most even say that their business is on track to meet or, incredibly, exceed projections. So yes, any crisis has winners and losers but the “show” must go on.
A good contact from Hansa Meyer in Houston shared with me one major move that they made in the past weeks, and certainly it would seem that they have been as busy as if it were normal times. View project summary and photos here. From some other shipowner contacts the story has been the same—ships are full and even big blue is announcing better than expected profits.
I hope that some of the profit will be used in many companies, banks and what not so that they actually can answer the phones if you call them and provide personal customer service instead of voicemail or claims online. I discussed this very thing with a smaller forwarder in Stockholm last week. He told me that a maximum of only one or max shipowners ever move their butts and get out of their offices to actually meet customers— Corona times or not. It is my hope that you award your business to only those who actually are reachable and willing to go to your place of work to meet, all things being equal! Mixing online solutions with personal interaction is the right cocktail. Otherwise, blindly believing in driverless modes of transport we will “fly by wire” straight into the ground just like we have seen some aircrafts doing in recent times.
On the interview side this week, I decided to dip back into the archives a bit and republish some interesting ones again. We start off in a land of great steaks, wonderful wine, and the place of a German naval vessel that was sunk decades ago, and the country is URUGUAY. We then head to the country where the president is twittering daily, and where knowing the geography and locations of countries outside is not always a skillset mastered by politicians, and that country is the USA. US flagships still exist, and they are indeed involved in general shipping. This interview tells us more, as you do need US flag vessels for certain projects or destinations from time to time. We finally visit the country of a great canal, wonderfully friendly people, and a place where many rich people seem to have a branch “office”, namely PANAMA. You will get a solid feeling about competence after reading this interview.
We sign off this week’s newsletter with shipping news, trade intel, and a few features, including a stormy video from the Pacific but with Russian voices in the background and perhaps a drop of vodka to it. As the saying goes: “Bis prablem tavarits” then all is good!
Until next Thursday, I remain,
Bo H. Drewsen
Mr. Santiago Rodriguez &
Mr. Sebastian Agostini
Tell us about yourself (Sebastian & Santiago) what is your background and when did you start your shipping career originally? What made you choose this business?
Santiago Rodriguez answer: I graduated with a degree in International Business and took my first job at the Argentinian Embassy in Uruguay, thanks to which I got my second job for an Argentinian company that was setting up in Uruguay. I was in charge of importations and logistics. In 2005 I entered the freight forwarding world (general cargo) and later, in 2008 I became involved in project freight forwarding where I feel is where I always wanted to be. As I always say, “forwarding is a way of life!”.
Sebastian Agostini answer: After I finished my degree in International Business I got a job in a familiar local company dedicated to international moves and forwarding, that first job helped me realize that forwarding is the perfect fit for me, partly because all my life I have been immersed in the maritime world because my father was a member of the Uruguayan Navy, he passed his love for the sea and vessels on to me!
Mr. Will Terrill
President and C.E.O.
What can you tell us about the history and ownership of US Ocean, LLC?
US Ocean, LLC started operations of modern, multipurpose vessels under the US Flag in 2002 as an affiliate of Intermarine, LLC. US Ocean was part of Intermarine until April 2018.
When Intermarine began to engage in US flag operations, the focus was on cargo that were financed by the Export-Import Bank of the United States. Intermarine wanted to provide customers that utilized EXIM with modern heavy-lift capable vessels that had the same capabilities as those operating in the international sector, along with exceptional customer service.
Vessels in the fleet are commercially viable, but also maintain a greater level of military utility than the original vessels that the company started with under US Flag. The company has the youngest fleet under the US Flag international trade and is a privately-owned US citizen’s company engaging in worldwide operations.
Ms. Dorita de Bolaños
President and C.E.O.
When was your company established, Dorita? Who are the owners today and what is your main line of business?
Our Company was established in March 2010, but it really was March 2012 when we started full operations. Our principals are general manager Dorita Miranda de Bolaños & Andres Bolaños, both founders well known in the local market with good experience in logistics services. Also we have an operations manager Linda Young who has extensive experience in the industry.
Our main line of Business is related to Ocean, air and land transportation, including specialized cargo such as reefer and oversize cargo. We also offer value-added services such as customs brokerage & cargo insurance.
As an additional service, we provide consultancy, for example training in subjects related to logistics among others.
ATN’s 34th Anniversary
The Philippine logistics company ATN was established this year 34 years ago. I know the owner personally and Mary Lou Estrada is still active, fresh and looking young. It means there is still hope and if her recipe is right, then its simply a matter of loving what you do, then you will keep young, successful and never work a day in your life! Well done ATN, MANILA!
All Transport Network is happy to share the celebration of 34 years in the industry, as it was this time in 1986 when Mrs. Mary Lou Estrada founded the company. Back then, the Philippines was going through a tumultuous period after the EDSA Revolution and now, we are going through a similarly critical time.
At the beginning, ATN was established to assist the Philippine economy through facilitating global trade as a reputable and reliable local hero. On their 9th year, ATN opened its own head office building in Paranaque, Metro Manila. By the 19th year, ATN won their first government contract, which has become a core vertical, and the second generation joined a few years afterwards. Last year, their own distribution center was opened and finally this year, they continue to commit to the digitalisation of services to include online Track & Trace – amongst others.
Throughout these times, the company remains solid and growing – for this, ATN acknowledges the loyalty, support and trust of its partners through the years.
Here’s a short video ATN prepared with faces from the company.
Hyundai Nears Delivery on its First LNG-Powered Container Ship
CMA CGM is now receiving a string of LNG powered container ships. The french carrier with Lebanese roots does indeed manifest itself at the forefront and actual walks the talk about the environment. Now it is up to the customers to also walk the talk by supporting this initiative with actual bookings! Well done CMA CGM!
Hyundai Samho Heavy Industries is completing the commissioning of its first LNG-powered container ship. The 14,800 TEU ship is expected to undergo its final sea trials and be delivered in September.
Swire Shipping Welcomes its Second 2400TEU vessel, MV Chefoo, into its Fleet
Swire Shipping continues with its new-building spree with vessels with Chinese names. With a long history in Asia, Swire Shipping will no doubt be here for many more years to come if they continue to adopt to the 21st century.
Swire Shipping recently introduced its second 2400TEU vessel, MV Chefoo, into its fleet. The vessel will be deployed on Swire Shipping’s South East Asia (SEA) service, which connects South East Asia to Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands. The SEA service is part of Swire Shipping’s comprehensive network that is focused on connecting global supply chains to the communities of Papua New Guinea and the Pacific Islands.
Mapping out a Sustainable Future for Road Transport
Whilst we talk environment all the time and shifting movements from truck to rail we should never discount that trucking for most still is the best, most direct and economical option of transport in particular to inland places and to peoples door. IRU the international Road Transport organisation has an interesting newsletter which updates you on the happenings in the international trucking trade. An interesting read in particular because shipping cannot exist without trucking and vice versa and ideally shipping/railway/trucking work seamlessly on their strengths as a “team”.
“Now more than ever, road transport is playing a crucial role in keeping the world moving. To continue doing so, our industry needs to stay alive.
But with EUR 550 billion in turnover losses projected for global freight and EUR 80 billion for European passenger transport alone, the likelihood of mass bankruptcies in the sector is alarming.
We need clear government action and financial commitments to match the scale of the current situation. Global economic recovery is at stake.”UMBERTO DE PRETTO
IRU Secretary General
Hydrogen: a Positive Step Towards 2050 Climate Neutrality
The European Commission’s new hydrogen strategy is out and reinforces much of IRU’s
vision on decarbonising long distance road transport for passengers and goods by 2050.
And H2Haul project partners have been discussing CO2 emission standards for heavy-duty vehicles and the upcoming EU directive on alternative fuels infrastructure
Sustainable Jeans Manufacturer Saitex Is LA Bound
Vietnam denim manufacturer Saitex is sticking with plans to open up its first U.S. operation in the City of Angels. With American clients like J.Crew, Everlane, Target, Outerknown and more, the denim heavy hitter has been plotting a stateside move since before the pandemic struck.
MHI Compressor International Awarded Contract by World-Class Gulf Coast Ammonia Facility
The compressors will be jointly built and tested by MHI Compressor Corp. (MCO) at its factory in Hiroshima, Japan and at MCO-I’s Houston facility. All trains are to be packaged at MCO-I.
TATNEFT and Allur Group of Companies will Establish a Joint Tyre Manufacturing Facility in Kazakhstan
It is assumed that TATNEFT and Allur Group of Companies will establish a joint venture for the implementation of the project. The project shall provide for the construction of a new manufacturing facility in Kazakhstan for the production of passenger car, LVC and truck tyres.
The planned capacity of the enterprise is 3 million passenger and LVC tyres, as well as 0.5 million truck tyres per year. The production operation of the facility is expected to start in 2022. The project will create about 800 jobs, taking into account related industries.
China Harbour Engineering Co (CHEC) has Secured a Container Yard Project Contract for the Second Container Terminal at Ivory Coast.
The terminal project, owned by Bollore and APM Terminals, includes the construction of road, power grids, watering system and related facility at the container yard. The construction period is 22 months.
It can be stormy weather in the Pacific as this video shows clearly. In reference to seafarers, a person once said “whatever they pay them, it ain’t enough”. Luckily, there are more pleasant days, during sailing, than unpleasant ones. If I had been on this vessel I would likely have downed a few vodkas as well and then my “Russian skills” would no doubt have improved rapidly.
One of the thousands of unsung heroes, i.e. seafarers, of the World plying the oceans to ensure world trade, many of whom now are unable to return home or be relieved due to the corona pandemic. The wonderful Sri Lankan cook onboard mv CMA CGM Georgia from Singapore to Melbourne when I joined with my daughter last year is one of those unsung heroes indeed. It was a great experience onboard and, although I already certainly knew about the friendliness of the Sri Lankans, on that trip I also learnt about their cuisine!