Week #47 – 2020

Share with a colleague!

In this edition: Personal Profile – Martin Voetmann | VTG Project Logistics Moscow | Beyond Ports – Luanda & Lobito, Angola >>>

Week #47 | 19th November, 2020

Dear Readers,

Bo H. DrewsenIt is Thursday the 19th of November and we are here again.

This week has been busy for me. I left Sunday early morning by car to the small port of Kopmanholmen in the North of Sweden in order to be present when the heavylift vessel, mv UHL FOCUS (using the Northern Sea route from Vietnam to Sweden) arrived. 

Kopmanholmen is located in an area called the High Coast of Sweden, and when you look at the map, you will get an idea of the size of the country and the length of the coastline.  It’s very beautiful up there. Here you may click to get an idea of the place.

I stayed at a bed & breakfast called Kajkanten (www.kajkanten19.se) which directly translates into Pier Side or Quay Side, and I agreed with the owner that in order to attract a more international clientele, he should establish a website called the Highcoast Pier B&B.  This he is now doing, and when you see the following pictures, you will understand the unique position of this B&B. Although the toilet is in the hall and the shower is on the ground floor, it doesn’t matter. You can also get enough of 5-star luxury (and enough of their shampoos and soaps that you bring home 😃. Take a look at this.

This week’s editorial will be a bit different as I have managed in between other jobs for the two networks that I am chairing (www.clcprojects.com & www.cross-ocean.com) to do a couple of interesting video interviews.  The first one is with the CEO of United Heavylift and, by coincidence, it was exactly their vessel that I was waiting for in the north.  Mr. Lars Bonnesen, with a long career in shipping, does provide us with an interesting story.

UHL Youtube Preview

Before I turn to the 2nd video interview of the week, I do, as usual, have a few comments to make on politics.

”Dont leave home without it” as AMEX said in an ad once, and my comments this week are simply put:  Trump is a sore loser, but he should be proud of the fact that close to 70 million indeed did vote for him. Also, he should be proud of the fact that the news media will miss him when he is gone as they will have less to write about. 

In my native country of Denmark, we managed to eradicate a whole profession in light of the COVID crisis and here I talk about the killing of some 17 million mink as they apparently can mutate the coronavirus.  Talk about hoping that this decision was right so far, it has cost one politician his ministerial life.  Anyhow fear not, he has got a pension …..

The 2nd video interview I managed to do was with Mr. Marin Skufca, a most interesting gentleman with a long history in shipping, particularly chartering worldwide and with a base in the beautiful country of Croatia. He surely picked a great place to conduct his business out of.  Liburnia Maritime his company is called, and you can see the interview here.

Liburnia Maritime Youtube Preview

Turning finally to our usual written interviews, this week we start off speaking to a native Dane living in Central Asia.  Mr. Martin Voetmann is our shipping profile of the week, and he tells us about an interesting career leading up to his current position working at DP World Aktau—of all places.  

We then remind you about two interesting interviews that we had previously.  First up is VTG Logistics in Moscow, a well-renowned logistics provider, especially for railway to/from Russia and Europe. We then finally visit a country where the McDonalds index (cost of a burger) was the highest—at least some years ago worldwide due to the oil/gas found—and the country is Angola.  In the capital Luanda, we interview NATCO, and they tell us an interesting story about what they can do.

Finally, we keep our tradition and add selected shipping news, trade intel and wise words, including, of course, featured photo and video of the week.

Until next week, we remain,

Yours sincerely,
Bo H. Drewsen

Hoegh Autoliners Banner

Personal Profile – Martin Voetmann – Port Aktau – DP World Kazakhstan


Tell our readers, first of all, how you got into shipping in the first place instead of, say, banking or lawyering, etc.?

Growing up in Denmark, it was my ambition that my professional career should have an international angle where I could use my language and communication skills in communicating with people all around the globe. Shipping and logistics at the same time have a reputation of being a very vibrant and at times hectic environment—especially when the deadlines for submitting documents or vessel arrivals are approaching. I thrive when the pressure is on, and you need to perform quickly and make stakeholders come together to get the job done. 

Nowadays, being a bit further down the line in my career, the tasks are less operational, but still very exciting. Complex stakeholder management and more strategic thinking on how we can change the supply chains for our customers so they become efficient is what most of my day is committed to. This may sound cliché, but when you are dealing with landlocked and even “double landlocked” countries, there is a multitude of stakeholders across the supply chain that needs to be aligned, and this requires lots of communication and careful consideration.

VTG Project Logistics Moscow

VTG interview image

Interview with

Mr. Sergey Nikitin
Managing Director

Mr. Sergey Nikitin

Russia is a huge country and railways are obviously used almost all the time. Yet, who controls the railway operation, and how can you ensure good “customer service” on the railways since you are depending on the same railway network as everyone else? What makes VTG special?

While the railway network in Russia and the locomotives are owned by RZD, all the individual cars are privately owned. VTG is not only a forwarder but also an owner of more than 4,000 wagons in Russia. As a result, the VTG team has a huge amount of practical experience in forwarding different kinds of project goods by railway, but VTG Project Logistics is a completely new chapter in the Eastern hemisphere.

VTG Project Logistics, Russia operates in all transport sectors between Europe, America, and Asia. With systematic organization and innovative solutions, VTG Project Logistics, Russia offers optimum project logistics. These include multiple cargo handling, customs clearance, and technical and engineered solutions, including totally customized transfers of plant and machinery, and managing multimodal movement of over-dimensional and heavy equipment for clients in the mining, energy, construction, and oil and gas industries.

Beyond Ports – Luanda & Lobito, Angola


Interview with

Rene Werlen

What are Angola’s Main Sea Ports

LUANDA is the main port in Angola. Other than the Greater Luanda and Malange-City areas, it serves the northern parts up to the center of Angola, mainly in the East where the mining industry operates and also the Bengo, Uige and Kwanzas’ provinces.

Another port that carries the same level of importance is LOBITO. This one takes care of the central plateau as well as the hinterland towards the Zambian border. The main area of trade and industrial development in the middle of the country is the City of Huambo.

The transit into Zambia from Lobito Port is theoretically viable, however, in practice still quite unusual, under-developed, under-explored and not yet a common transit lane neither by road nor by the rehabilitated Benguela-Railway to Luau on the border of Zambia…..

PCW-Shipping News

RSGT Takes Delivery of Two STS Cranes and 10 Hybrid-RTGs with an Investment of USD 35 Million as Terminal Expansion Continues

Editor’s Note:
Another impressive delivery of new giant STS cranes from China to the Red Sea Gateway terminal. See latest here directly received from them.


Red Sea Gateway Terminal (RSGT) has taken delivery of two state-of-the-art remote-controlled Ship-to-Shore (STS) cranes, and 10 hybrid-Rubber-Tyred Gantry Cranes (RTGs), as part of the latest steps in the planned expansion of Jeddah Port’s premier facility to double annual container throughput capacity to 5.2 million TEUs by 2023.

Swire Shipping Deploys First 2,750 TEU Newbuild, MV Lae Chief, on its Newly Upgraded NAX Service

Editor’s Note:
Swire Shipping continues to develop in the South Pacific, and they do so by upgrading some of their services with newer and bigger tonnage. I am sure it will be good for the islanders and excellent that a carrier throws the remote islands a regular dependable lifeline. Shipping is indeed the lifeline of the world—if only the world would respect the seafarers for it more…

Swire Shipping deployed its first 2,750TEU newbuild, MV Lae Chief, on its upgraded North Asia Express (NAX) service. Launching the new fixed-day fortnightly service with her maiden voyage, the vessel made her first port call in Shanghai on November 5, 2020.

TT Club’s Regular Risk Management Newsletter Goes ‘Live’

Editor’s Note:
Loss prevention is paramount always and being aware of risks is always good. Latest newsletter from TT Club highlights this

International freight transport insurer TT Club’s well-respected loss prevention newsletter, TT Talk is being made available as a podcast.: TT Live. The podcast will be recorded monthly and released at the same time as the written word. In addition, six specially produced interviews on various aspects of contractual challenges in the operation of the container supply chain will be made available over the next six weeks.

European Silk Road Summit 2020

Editor’s Note:
Although not directly “shipping” but rather railway news, it was an important event last week when the European Silk Road Summit was held online. You can find more from the newsletter here, and you may watch the replay of the conference – there is a link to it in Kim De Vos’ newsletter below.


Turkey’s MFA Mask to Build Manufacturing Facility in Kazakhstan

A trilateral memorandum on the implementation of a project to build a plant for the production of masks was signed between Kazakhstan’s Foreign Ministry, Nur-Sultan’s Mayor and Turkish company MFA Mask in the capital of Kazakhstan, the interdepartmental commission on the non-proliferation of COVID-19 said on November 3.

Brunei to Boost Solar Project Development, Says Energy Minister

“The Ministry of Energy will continue its efforts towards reducing energy intensity and to increase the total share of renewable energy in Brunei’s power generation,” the minister said.

The minister also reiterated the importance of gas as an accessible, affordable source of cleaner energy in the region.

Chinese Glass Manufacturer Selects Stratford for its First Canadian Manufacturing Facility

Xinyi Canada Glass, the Chinese glass maker that’s been attempting to build a manufacturing facility in Ontario since 2018, has chosen Stratford, local officials say.

Stratford’s economic development corporation, investStratford, confirmed Thursday afternoon that a potential $400-million development that would bring approximately 320 jobs is being considered in the city’s southwest corner near Wright Business Park.

UAE Investor to Build 22 Million Euro Wastewater Facility in Serbia’s Zrenjanin – City

United Arab Emirates-based Metito Utilities plans to invest 22 million euro ($26 million) in the construction of a wastewater treatment plant in Zrenjanin, in northern Serbia, the city government said.

The Serbian environment ministry has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Metito Utilities for the construction of the plant, which will be located near Zrenjanin’s Southeast Industrial Zone, the Zrenjanin city government said in a statement on Thursday.

PCW-Featured Video

Sailing Through the Desert via the Suez Canal

Editor’s Note:
Sailing through the desert sounds impossible, however this footage from the Suez Canal that I took onboard CMA CGM Christophe Colomb a few years ago does epitomize just that. Incredible actually and a giant lifeline for the world’s trade, the Suez Canal.

PCW-Featured Photo

Editor’s Note:
Enroute to the north of Sweden and the port of Kopmanholmen/Ornskoldsvik, I passed via the port of Harnosand. A BBC Briese vessel was in port. Here are a few pictures to enjoy. Close up, you will be impressed about the size and length of the blades nowadays!

ft image
Quote of the week
Proverb of the week