It is Thursday the 7th of October and we are back again.
Since Tuesday the 28th of September, I have, in fact, been on a major trip here in the northern part of Europe — meaning mainly Denmark, Germany, and Poland. I’ve been traveling the whole route by train and returning today to visit my parents in DK-Grenå before flying back to Stockholm on October 11. I suppose I am wanted back home in order to help out with the kids, but let us see if I am let back in 😃.
The trip has taught me a lot, especially being reminded about how the beauty of traveling, meeting people face to face, listening to them, hearing them out, and sharing both family and business experiences is what really enriches—that is if you are open to it. It is not for everyone, and as a wise man once said, it does cost money to earn money and the same goes for networking—not everyone can do it, and those who are lousy at it long-term only contact you when they need something. Yet it would be good for them to realize that they need to keep in touch when they don’t. That is a good lesson once the Corona season is finally over: take stock of your “friends” and your “business partners”, and clean up where applicable
I first took the SJ Swedish railways from Stockholm to Copenhagen. It is a 6-hr journey with excellent internet onboard, comfortable cabins, and only one change at Malmö. In Copenhagen, I had 2 tasks. One was a lunch with the head of Maersk Special Cargo.
The second was joining a working group on the development of Baltic ports, in particular the South East Baltic for both project cargo and Silk Road connections via the Ports of Mukran and Karlshamn. Lots is happening in the Baltic, and new solutions are popping up frequently with ports overall being active in thinking new. See the presentations here.
After dinner in the evening with some long-term friends of mine from my China days in the early 90’s, I took the early morning train with DSB to Hamburg. It was 5 hrs in what can be described mainly as cattle class. Although traveling in 1st class, in Denmark, there is, per se, no difference between 1st or 2nd class. Now I am not a snob, but if you pay extra to sit well, have peace to work, and a bit of space for your legs, then DSB simply hasn’t got the product you want. Add to that some simple breakfast rolls that virtually were thrown your way and instant coffee that you also had to make yourself, of course. Not an impressive experience overall, and from a country that produced someone like Maersk, we should do better with our railways, particularly when considering how small the country really is. Still, better not complain because remember the world does revolve around Denmark 😃.
Made it to Hamburg pretty much on time, and oh, forgot to say that internet onboard was excellent which was a major plus, so no worries there. Made some friends on the way as usual.
In Hamburg, I started with meetings straight away after my arrival at 12:10 (noon) on September 29. I met with Coli Shipping, CMA CGM who also joined, and then SAL the heavy lift carrier.
Finally I was collected from downtown by my old friend Mr. Olaf Proes who I have known since he worked in Sinotrans / Rickmers in the mid-eighties. He is now retired and makes model ships. You may take a look at www.model-art.biz and email Olaf at: firstname.lastname@example.org – when I left Martin Bencher I bought a nice model ship of a breakbulk ship from him as a gift to my partner so I can vouch for the quality and finish.
The next day, after a private dinner in Olaf’s house outside Hamburg and being allowed to use the guest room (which was, as always, cozier than any hotel room), I was whisked to downtown Hamburg again and met up with: MSC, COSCO, HMM and ONE and had a final dinner with VTG Logistics coming from Berlin. So indeed a long day of networking.
On Friday, October 1st, I visited first the renowned German shipowner Hapag Lloyd that seems to be doing very well nowadays and their Niche Product Manager that includes OOG and Project Cargo.
Once done, I grabbed a cab to United Heavy Lift and enjoyed a lunch together with them.
After that, I had booked a private charter for a Hamburg harbour tour because seeing ships close up and being on a “roadtrip” in port is always impressive. Here you will find selected pictures from this great Friday afternoon. Welcome to view the Hamburg Harbour Tour photo album.
After the port harbour tour, I visited 2 terminals: first Eurogate Terminal which is one of the major container terminals of the port of Hamburg: www.eurogate.eu, and then the Wallmann Terminal which is one of the last remaining breakbulk terminals in Hamburg, able to handle breakbulk and project cargo efficiently. See more here: www.wallmann-hamburg.de
So, Friday October 1st was not lacking until the end, and I was “home” after a long day at about 8pm.
The next morning (October 2), I again boarded a train. This time it was DB (German Railways) via Berlin to Gdansk in Poland which is a 9-hr journey. DB did well with the ICE train: nice seats, fast internet, and clean wagons. In Berlin, which also seemed like a pretty new central station, we changed to the more traditional Polish trains that also were nice. Although it was more cabin style, the big advantage was a proper, open, restaurant car with a solid menu, good service, and no vegan / sustainable / plastic-wrapped food that we nowadays get in many railway companies running their so-called “cafe menu”. So 10 zlotys (or points) to Poland for that. Here are a few pictures from Hamburg – Berlin – Gdansk via trains which may tell you more.
I arrived around 8pm to the Radisson Hotel in Sopot by the Polish Baltic Coast which is part of the tri-city area comprising Gdynia, Gdansk, and Sopot. It is clearly the Eastern part of Europe but has developed immensely over the decades, making it a really beautiful spot to visit if you ever plan a holiday. See the Sopot photos here.
Gdansk has a huge port, and Gdynia is the location for the office of Chipolbrok (the oldest joint venture in shipping between China / Poland). We had, of course, a solid discussion over dinner, and I can confirm that you eat well in Poland too.
Before meeting CP, I also met with the branch manager and former colleague of Martin Bencher Poland who is also a successful, local project freight forwarder. Just that coming week, they were to be loading cranes to Australia in Gdansk I believe. I also had lunch with Logfret’s representative in Warsaw.
They are part of CLC Projects www.clcprojects.com a network of project freight forwarders that I am chairing besides PCW.
Then finally, after a day’s rest, I departed on October 5th to Rostock in Germany, again via Berlin. I arrived there late in the same evening due to some delay in crossing the border, etc. As a result, I missed the connection and had the pleasure of the DB regional train which, similar to DSB in Denmark, was cattle class with a solid stowage of people to say the least. Anyway, I made some good friends there and had a discussion with a retired mechanical engineer. He bluntly told me that German manufacturing is NOT following modern times and that compared to the very slow rollout of both fast internet countrywide and top/down management in many traditional places, this meant (for him) that Germany was lagging.
Come to think of it, it was one of the topics I heard through the grapevine, i.e., that too many local or other governmental bodies in between have a habit of delaying decision making, so it is difficult to get anything done. Frankly speaking, it is a wider problem of our democracies in the West. We are now seemingly unable to do anything fast either because there is a green sustainable lobby using their ideology to press their goals, irrespective of costs or other reasons so that voting is unclear. Still, what to do? Let us just hope for Europe’s sake that the EU and Germany have a plan, and moreover a vision for something, and above all can act FASTER.I arrived safely into Rostock — a place which I never visited before and only heard about due to ferry connections to Scandinavia and the former seat of DSR Deutsche Seereederei from the old DDR days in Germany. I had a very nice day and port tour organised by the Rostock Port www.rostock-port.de and Euroports www.euroports.com and I also took quite a few pictures that you can see here.
Rostock is not a big place but a very cozy and old historical city with some centuries of history to its credit, beautifully located by the coast. The main attraction in the port are the factories which produce mono-piles for the offshore wind industry, as well as the giant Austrian producer of mobile and port cranes, Liebherr. I also saw their latest mammoth. I think it could lift 1600 tons – a mobile crane, the believe it or not!
I had an excellent dinner in a great, local, seafood restaurant with the line manager of Stinnes Lines and his colleague.
Now, it’s very early in the morning publishing day when I am writing this editorial, before getting up before sunrise to catch the earliest train via Hamburg to Århus / Grenå for a private visit and finally a few days without shipping 😃.
Generally, I always allow some political observations, but I won’t elaborate on that this week. This editorial was more like a travel report, so if you can find some use from the intel that it contains, I would be pleased. You could take the opportunity to remind your sales people that just because vessels are full doesn’t mean that complacency is allowed. It is always when the going is great that more sales must be done—downturns are inevitably coming.
As for the shipping front today, I let you off the hook with only 2 due to the long editorial. So if you are not too tired, then note that today, we start off by visiting the island of mythology, rich shipowners able to make a dollar out of every secondhand ship known to man, and with a proud history, i.e., Greece. We speak to Modern Freight who tells us a story.
We then visit the South of France and speak to a good friend of mine, Mr. Richard Holgate, now retired from many years with CMA CGM, and he tells us in a short, live interview about what the director of marine operations does or did in his day which is pretty current.
We finally provide you with the usual condiments: shipping news, trade intel, featured video and pictures, and wise words to say the least.
Until next week, we remain,
Bo H. Drewsen
Modern Freight S.A – Piraeus, Greece
Mr. Socrates Zorbas
Business Development Manager
In what ways has the global COVID-19 pandemic affected your business in Greece, and speaking of Greece, is the country now out of the previous crisis that everyone talked about a couple of years ago?
COVID-19 had an impact on our business in the beginning, when imports slowed down as most shops were closed and e-shopping was not that familiar in Greece. Gradually, this changed, and e-shopping started to boom, which led to imports picking up again. For the past 4 months, all sectors of the economy are working almost as they were before COVID-19, while tourism (which is the biggest industry in Greece) has a very good season / year. As for the previous crisis, our economy had picked up a lot during the past 2-3 years. Our banking system is strong, and through a lot of reforms that took place in our economy as well as in the public sector, we are well on our way to growth.
Mr. Richard Holgate
Retired Director of
Marine Operations at
Mr. Richard Holgate – Retired Director of Marine Operations at CMA CGM interviewed by Bo H. Drewsen, Editor in Chief at Project Cargo Weekly.
Pipeline From California Oil Spill Was Moved 105 Feet Along Sea Floor (Possibly Caused by a Ship’s Anchor)
This environmental problem, beside the piling up of ships outside Californian ports, really means that the sunshine state has a lot of work ahead to clear both the pollution and the backlog.
A section of the oil pipeline that burst off the Southern California coast was displaced 105 feet (32 meters) across the ocean floor, officials said on Tuesday, fueling speculation that a ship’s anchor may have caused the environmental disaster.
Conspiracy Claims Container Shipping Crisis is ‘Manufactured’
Lots of opinions and questions about how the current crisis in the supply chain could have happened, and indications are that it will even continue until well into 2022!
At the weekend your editor while scanning through recommendations on YouTube noticed a video entitled ‘The Cargo Ships Crisis is Manufactured – Creating Supply Chain Nightmare’ by a user called ‘iAllegedly’.
Curious to see how ‘Dan – iAllegedly’ backed up the claim in the title I gave the 22-and-half minute video a watch.
A Weekly Newsletter from High North News
Latest news from “High North News” and an interesting newsletter published in Norway. Many logistics providers are looking into the Arctic and North of the Nordics region for shipping and logistics markets and solutions.
While Arctic summits line up and business is booming, a tragedy is played out in Afghanistan that revives memories about the refugee crisis in the High North six years ago.
In his Friday commentary this week, our Editor-in-Chief Arne O. Holm reminds us of our privileged society’s responsibility for people in need.
Because while the Afghan society is collapsing, images from an unwanted flow of refugees is revived on our retina. Newspaper archives dig out images of refugees on bicycles crossing the border from Russia to Norway at Storskog border crossing.
Are You Taking Your Responsibility for Lifting Safety Seriously?
Lifting (and doing it safely) is paramount for everyone. PCW received this newsletter from an organisation that might be interesting for you to look into.
Lifting equipment plays a vital role throughout the world of what might be termed ‘wet logistics’. Across port and maritime operations where smooth operation depends on being able to lift. Reliability leading to minimal downtime is the key to efficiency but it is safety that is paramount in any lifting operation. Ignorance in relation to lifting can result in severe consequences beyond handicapping a company’s progress: an accident, a visit from health and safety inspectors and, ultimately, punishment.
Leeward Secures Financing for Two Wind Projects in US
Leeward Renewable Energy has secured financing for repowering of its 90MW Aragonne Wind project and to construct the 145MW Aragonne Mesa Wind project in the US.
Located in Guadalupe County in New Mexico, the two wind farms will feature advanced GE wind turbine technology.
Under a previous power purchase agreement (PPA) with Arizona Public Service Company (APS), the projects will combinedly provide 200MW of wind power for a period of 20 years.
NDPHC Signs Agreement with Kano State to Provide 20 MW of Electricity
Nigeria suffers from a serious energy deficit with a production of 7,000 MW for 5,000 MW distributed against a demand of 50,000 MW. Independent producers active in the country are also struggling to sell their production.
Global Petroleum Enters Into Next License Phase for PEL 94, off Namibia
Global Petroleum has announced, in relation to its licence PEL0094 (Block 2011A) offshore Namibia, that the Ministry of Mines and Energy has agreed to Global’s proposal to enter into the next license sub-period from September 2021 to September 2022.
ICM Announces Deal With Neomille to Design Plant in Brazil
ICM has signed an agreement with Neomille, a subsidiary of Cerradinho Bioenergia, to design a bio-refinery in the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso do Sul. Construction will take place in Maracaju, 160 kilometers southwest of the state capital.
Private Boat Charter Tour of the Port of Hamburg
Visited the Port of Hamburg, and being a good friend since 1986 of Mr. Olaf Proes, who has a long history in working with various shipowners in Germany, he organised a private boat charter to take me really up close to various ships in this great and centrally-located port in Europe.
During the port tour of Hamburg, we managed to get really close up to a Grimaldi roro vessel destined for West Africa and to see how the ramp is placed when lowered onto the pier.