Week #21 – 2021

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In this edition: Fevzi Gandur Shipping Agency – Istanbul, Turkey | Planck Marine Insurance – Denmark | Catoni & Co. Georgia >>>

Week #21 | 27th May 2021

Dear Readers,

Bo H. DrewsenIt is Thursday the 27th of May and the last issue of the month is here to be read.

It reminds me to tell you that I shall be taking a summer break as editor of PCW between 10th of June and 12th of August. It is time for some family attention. Also, since I don’t really have a great number of staff for backup, research and interviews, it is time to recharge the batteries which certainly in these the “greenest” of times sounds politically correct, right ?  Anyway, all joking aside, the break this year coincides with the kid’s school summer holidays, and we have plans to explore more of Scandinavia. In particular, we want to visit the North of Sweden and Norway where none of us really have been. That requires a lot of time as it covers a vast area.  But if you feel depressed about not receiving PCW during these 8 weeks, we have a solution: do read up on former issues here or simply enjoy reading our latest yearbook 2020 which is a great compilation of interviews both written and online. 

The week past took me to Copenhagen. I had several appointments during the trip. Thus, in order to be fresh for a great lunch on arrival, I opted to take the fast train from Stockholm leaving at 06:16 arriving via Malmoe at 11:49.  With good comfort, fast internet and a view, it is an excellent way to travel and combine work with pleasure.  After some 20 minutes, I passed the great port of Södertälje – Stockholm Gateway as you can see from this video – if you need more input on the port and what it can do email to he is a former Scandinavian Airlines employee who now turned into a marketing manager for the port.

Visiting Copenhagen is always a pleasure, and whilst you sometimes need to watch your spending and ignore the blabbing that some people in the capital (any capital, I guess) are guilty of, it was an exquisite pleasure. 

First on the agenda was lunch at Restaurant Amalie, close to the Royal Palace with typical open sandwiches, aquavit and cold beers, discussing shipping and life overall with a couple of friends from United Heavylift. 

To this event, I also invited a personal friend of mine from my first stint in Beijing 1992-1996, Mr Steven Foster who after a long career in the foreign service is now retired.  Among the great memories he and I have together is a trip on the Trans-Siberian railway from Beijing to Moscow, with stops in Ulaanbaatar, Irkutsk (and Lake Baikal) as we both departed China for other assignments.  What a befitting way to return from Asia. 

Then, I had a sadder thing to do in Copenhagen, and that was to take a look at the ship from which my late brother’s ashes will be dispersed into the ocean on June 19th in Copenhagen. The ship is used for all kinds of events, including sad and sombre events like mine and is anchored in Nyhavn which is a famous part of Copenhagen not far from the Royal Palace, Maersk Line global HQ, Opera House and so on. The ship, mv Bjørnsholm, can be seen among the pictures taken in Copenhagen during my trip. So yes, it is the final goodbye to my brother who at the age of 50 left us late December last year. Now with eased corona restrictions, we are able to fulfill his final wish.

In the evening that day, I had a nice dinner with another friend of mine now working for COSCO Shipping Specialized Carriers in Copenhagen. As we all know when dealing with project cargo, you will deal with COSCO one way or the other during your career simply because of their sheer size in the market.  

This time in Copenhagen, I stayed at Hotel Bethel (for sailors) which has excellent, clean rooms straight downtown in Nyhavn. With rates some DKK 600 cheaper than say the Admiral, it certainly paid for a great part of the meals that I had.   

The next day, Saturday, before my departure back to Stockholm, I enjoyed another lunch at Nyhavnskroen Restaurant with a former BBC Chartering Singapore friend of mine and a guy specialised in marine insurance with a past in Nordana and Thorco.  

So, summarizing from this short trip report, you can imagine that shipping is indeed the cradle of networking, and this is one major contributing factor why I never considered (at least not for long) to leave this line of business.  It is simply the best business there is, and no matter how many online solutions you can find or “smart ways” to book your cargo, it is still a people business and will remain so!

I happily didn’t have much time this past week to follow any politics. However, I agreed with one interviewee from Georgia that I heard later on in the week, “the politicians do their blabbing whilst the business people keep them afloat”. It does seem that elections often solve nothing, but at least it gives us the feeling that we do have influence, I guess. 

Corona restrictions seem to be easing and travel restrictions are becoming a bit less as you all know, but again, it ain’t over until the fat lady sings and that we, worldwide, have got this pandemic under control.

Without further ado, I now tell you what we’ve got in store in the way of interviews today for you.  We start off in the country that, shall we say, has both a modern, western part of the country but also a very old-fashioned, eastern part of the country and with a strategic location: I am talking about Turkey.  Talking to the local company Fevzi Gandur Shipping Agency gives us an idea about what they can do for you in this important country.  

We then remind you of an interview we had with a competent insurance broker, and as we all know, we do need insurance in life and business because “what if?”…… thus Planck Marine Insurance in Denmark may provide you with a solution.  

Lastly, and as one of the highlights of this week’s interviews, we visit the very important country in the Caucasus, i.e., Georgia which, it can be said, is famous not only for the birthplace of one certain dictator but also the cradle of ancient history, the oldest wines (and some would say the best wines) in the world, and is also a great hub for cargoes going to the Caspian Sea and beyond.  Catoni & Co. in Georgia has a presence not only there but also around the Black Sea, and their general manager tells us a compelling story.  Do enjoy this video interview to the full and learn more about a region that few of us, I think, really know much about.

Finally, of course, we of provide you with shipping news, trade intel, wise words, and once again, I remind you to download our free APP so you can listen to our podcasts (interviews) and read the latest.

Until next week, we remain,

Yours sincerely,
Bo H. Drewsen

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Fevzi Gandur Shipping Agency – Istanbul, Turkey


Interview with

Ms. Bianca Namer
Sales & Marketing Manager


Has Covid 19 impacted your business, and how do you find the business environment at the moment in Turkey during this pandemic?

We strongly believe that every crisis brings various opportunities, and within this aspect, we grow each day. Due to our IT backbone, we were already equipped to handle the sudden disruption in the business environment and very reduced access to our office facilities. We have carried on “business as usual”, have actually grown significantly during 2020, and are on track to even more growth during 2021. Our range of products, our flexibility, and our focus to provide solutions even in the most difficult working environment has allowed us to capture a significant market share in all our product offerings.

The current business environment in Turkey is slowly getting back to normal. We’ve seen a resumption of project cargo movements and a general increase in cargo movement across all modes of transport. The situation is still not 100% back to normal, especially due to disruption in liner services, huge increases in container and charter rates, and lack of available equipment & space.  However, 2021 is a definite improvement over last year and the situation is getting better day by day.

Planck Marine Insurance – Denmark

Insurance Form

Interview with

Mr. Søren V. Planck

First of all, Søren, please tell us a bit about your shipping background. As I understand it, you have experience in working with several ship owners?

My shipping background goes years back. I started my education in 1980 as shipbroker at Lehmann Junior in Copenhagen. I had an all-around education within chartering, operation and liner department. After ending my education, I continued working for five more years for the company. During this period, I got a very wide education within shipping and especially maritime law.

Video Interview
Catoni & Co. Georgia

Catoni Georgia Video Interview

Tamar Melia, General Manager of Catoni & Co. Georgia at The Catoni Group of Companies was interviewed by Bo H. Drewsen, Editor in Chief at Project Cargo Weekly.

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PCW-Shipping News

ISS–Global Forwarding South Africa acquires STACKS South Africa

Editor’s Note:
ISS continues to develop by both organic and take-over growth. Here is a recent example: the acquisition of STACKS South Africa, a well-reputed freight forwarder and shipping agent.

As of the 1st of June, STACKS will be operating under ISS– Global Forwarding from the ISS office in Plattekloof, Cape Town. The acquisition is the first transaction of a global agreement between STACKS Africa and the ISS – Global Forwarding Group, with Head Offices in Dubai. The acquisition will exclude the shipping agencies vertical of STACKS that will continue to operate branded as BBULK.

ISS – GF South Africa originated from the integration of South African-based freight forwarder, Global Logistics Alliance (Pty) Ltd, and ISS-GF in Dubai. ISS-GF is part of the ICD (Investment Corporation of Dubai), who is the Sovereign Fund of the Dubai government. ISS – GF South Africa will become an amalgamation of Shareholders from ISS-GF Dubai, Global Logistics Alliance (Pty) Ltd & STACKS South Africa.

Suez Canal Boss Says Ever Given Can Leave Once a $200m Deposit is Paid

Editor’s Note:
In our view, keeping cargo owners, ship owners and crew at ransom is really NOT a civilised way to handle this claim, which admittedly is a huge one, but still, surely there must be universal rules in place for this?

In the first days after the ship was freed, SCA had demanded a massive $916m in compensation from Shoei Kisen and its insurers, a figure it then slashed to $600m. This amount has since been cut further with Rabie saying in a local TV interview over the weekend he’d be willing to accept a $550m figure with a $200m deposit paid to secure the ship’s release, and the rest payable separately.

The next court hearing on the world’s most famous ship operating today is set for May 29.

Lawyers for Ever Given Shipowner Argue Suez Canal Was at Fault in Grounding. (See here)

Podcast – Desperate Ever Given Shippers Look to ‘Piracy’ Laws to Retrieve Cargo

Editor’s Note:
Yes, the cargo owners on mv Ever Given still held ransom in Suez are no wonder getting desperate.

Piracy and sea robbery is what some shippers are calling the Suez Canal Authority’s (SCA) refusal to allow them to get their cargo. A group of Swedish shippers are asking whether an 18th century law can be used to ensure they can retrieve their cargo, listeners can hear on The Loadstar Podcast, out today. The question hinges on whether the SCA is a government organisation (in which case, apparently, sea robbery is fine) or whether it’s a commercial enterprise.

The Cruise Season in Stockholm Starts on 25th May

Editor’s Note:
There seems to be some light at the end of the Covid-19 tunnel. Below is an example of that, i.e., that the cruise season will now start in Stockholm, and hopefully, worldwide the light will keep on shining.

On Tuesday 25th May the first cruise ship of the season arrives at Ports of Stockholm. This is the cruise ship Mein Schiff 1, arranged by travel organisers TUI. The ship will call at the city centre Masthamnen Port at 4 pm in the afternoon and will stay overnight.

The cruise is termed a blue cruise, which means that the passengers remain on the ship for the entire voyage. The cruise began in Germany, and most of the passengers aboard are German. The ship will complete a round trip voyage in the Baltic Sea and will then return to Germany again. There will be weekly repeat sailings of the same cruise with the same ship until midsummer.

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300,000 Ton Polypropylene Plant to be Constructed in Nigeria

A contract has been signed for a 285,000 tonnes per annum polypropylene plant to be constructed in Nigeria as part of the proposed BUA Refinery & Petrochemical Project in Nigeria.

BUA Group is one of Africa’s largest conglomerates and the contract has been signed with Lummus Technology, a leading licensor of proprietary petrochemical, refining, gasification, and gas processing technologies, and a supplier of catalysts, proprietary equipment, and related engineering services

ENGIE Announces Development of a 2 GW Renewable Energy Portfolio and Total Exit from Coal by 2025 in Chile

ENGIE presented this morning at the Presidential Palace of Chile the comprehensive transformation plan for its operations in the country, which includes the development of 2 GW of renewable energy capacity and the end of its coal-fired power generation activities by 2025 (nearly 1.5 GW). This initiative is part of the Group’s ambition to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 at the latest.

Arabian Cement Orders Rabigh Cement Plant Upgrade from FLSmidth

The order includes new DDX top cyclones, a quenching chamber and an ABC Cooler Inlet. Installation and commissioning is expected to be during the fourth quarter of 2021.

Arabian Cement’s chief executive officer Badr Osama Johar said, “With FLSmidth having provided the original line, they were the obvious candidate for the upgrade – we wanted a trusted partner who knows the ins and outs of the plant and is able to secure the success of the upgrade.”

Malawi’s First Utility-Scale Solar-Plus-Storage Project to be Built in Golomoti

Renewable Energy company, Sungrow has partnered with JCM Power, InfraCo Africa, RINA and Innovate UK to construct Malawi’s first utility-scale solar-plus-storage project. Located in the Dedza district of Malawi near the town of Golomoti, the 20MWac solar PV and 5MW/10MWh energy storage project is set to become a leading project in sub-Saharan Africa in showing the value of solar PV together with energy storage.

RailFreight Networking Days
PCW-Featured Video

How L.A.’s Container Ship Logjam Highlights Larger Pandemic Supply-Chain Issues | WSJ

Editor’s Note:
Traffic jams in California are normal on the freeways but seldom outside the coast of California. However, the recent disruption of the supply chain due to Covid-19 plus an enormous backlog of cargo caused a log jam outside the port of Los Angeles and others.

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PCW-Featured Photo

Editor’s Note:
Paid my native country of Denmark and its capital, Copenhagen a visit. From a shipping, tourist, and culinary point of view, Copenhagen is always worth a visit and I managed to combine all that with meeting up for lunch with ship owner representatives of both United Heavy Lift (UHL) and COSCO Specialized Carriers Ltd. You will also note the global HQ of world leader Maersk Line as well on a couple of pictures!

PCW Week 21 2021 Featured Photo
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