Clemenger Bertling Projects – Perth, Western Australia

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Interview with

Mr. Chris Nicholson
General Manager


Could you elaborate for our viewers about your own background in shipping & logistics? When did you start your career?

I started my career back in the early 1980’s, well before the telex machine and the internet, back in the day when you had “Dock Runners” and messenger boys. I worked for an NVOCC in Manchester, UK in the operations department where the B/Lading banding machine was your best friend.

Loadout & Barge Shipment of Columns, Vessels & Reactors

It has escaped no one interested in logistics that you have made a jv [joint venture] with Bertling. Tell us about your plan for this interesting joint venture, including which logistics markets you are particularly interested in.

Yes, we have recently entered into our JV agreement with Bertling. This was a natural progression for our project division as we have been Berting’s Australian agent for many years. Also, being a former Bertling employee, we shared very similar synergies.

We have recently seen the development of many new and interesting opportunities up throughout Asia & Oceania. Ideally, we have set up the JV to focus our efforts in the major energy industry sectors  (Oil & Gas / Mining & Construction / Power Generation / Renewables / Petrochemicals and to assist valued clients with end-to-end Project Management.

Loadout & Barge Shipment of Divided Wall Tower

We are also now able to offer the transportation of extra-large/over dimensional/heavy-lift cargoes, including heavy-lift engineering and technical & commercial consulting.

Another main area of expertise is our ability now to offer an all-round logistics solution, tailor-made to our varying clients needs & requirements, as well as our in-house customs advisory division where we can assist Australian importers with advice on duties / tariff concessions and free trade agreements.

The JV combines Bertling’s global logistics strengths and Clemenger’s local transport know-how and onshore services and resources.

Flexible Lay System to Indonesia

Can you tell us about some of the projects you have handled before and give us some examples (pictures, videos, etc.) so that our viewers will know that it is an experienced team in Clemenger Bertling?

Over time, we have handled many projects in Australia, especially within the Mining Sector. As an example, we handled the whole logistics scope for the Tropicana Gold Mine, Hope Downs, Marandoo and various part scopes for many EPCM clients in the West Australian region. We have also been responsible for the logistics scope for many client project requirements, ex:  Australia to Gold projects in West Africa and beyond.

Three Large Modules Shipped on the Yangtze

In addition to this, we have also worked closely with various Oil & Gas clients with their logistics requirements into the Eastern states. Each of these industries provide various challenges requiring solution-driven thinking.

Full Charter Shipments From Spain to Kazakhstan

Can you tell us about your office location(s) and headcount? Also, on an international scale, will you have further offices established?

In Australia, we have offices in each major city as well as Auckland, with around 95 employees Australia-wide. Our JV now joins us with Berting’s many global offices and valued employees. I think that gives us enough coverage at this stage.

Massive Substation Modules From Indonesia via Russian Rivers to Kazakhstan

Many freight forwarders nowadays call themselves ‘project cargo specialists’. What sets you apart from them?

Bertling have always been known as a “Global Project Logistics Provider” and their approach has not changed over time, we as the JV aim to follow in that concept and concentrate our efforts with our joint ability to execute complex, large-scale projects for clients on an “end to end” basis, this in reality is why we developed out Joint Venture.

Huge Steam Boiler From Italy via Volga Don to Kazakhstan

How do you view the fact that some shipowners, most notably Maersk in recent months, have clearly made their policy official that they are going after the middle man and the projects of the middle man, i.e., the freight forwarder, now also the project freight forwarder?

I guess it is a simple answer really. Shipowners, especially bulk vessel owners are starting to realise the importance of the Project Forwarder to the Project Owner and the fact that such business relies on the Forwarder for much more than just the shipping component from their respective businesses. I guess a lot of our business is becoming a “one stop shop”, encompassing all facets of moving shipments on an end-to-end basis.

750te of Cargo From Italy via Volga Don All the Way to Kazakhstan

Australia is a bit late entering the renewable energy game such as wind power, etc. Is that a market that the new joint venture will have a focus on as well?

Absolutely – as a group we do have experience in this sector with other Bertling offices, so we would be ready to take on such challenges that are presented within Australia.

Special Lifting/securing Designs for Massive Slug Catcher to Kazakhstan

Looking at the crystal ball and post Covid19, how do you view the rest of the year and 2024 in terms of market? Do you feel that shipowners are now more hungry than before during Covid19?

Covid 19 had a significant impact on global trade and shipping patterns. In fairness, it proved a very strange time for many industries, our own included, and I really don’t think that anybody knew what the future was going to hold. One thing was certain though: shipowners certainly had a major advantage in terms of decisions to reduce port calls and vessel rotations and at the same time, increase rates almost tenfold.

Substation & Remote Instrument Enclosure Modules, UK – Kazakhstan

With regards to the rest of this year and beyond, it’s worth noting that the shipping industry has historically experienced periods of both expansion and consolidation, driven by various factors, including market conditions, competition, and strategic goals of individual companies. The extent to which shipowners are “hungry” for growth or expansion can depend on their specific circumstances and objectives.

Over 5,000 Te of Cargoes Shipped by Barge via Volga Don River to Kazakhstan

You have been in shipping and logistics for many years.  Why?

Guess I didn’t make it as a Footballer!! But yes, involved for many years. It is the ever-changing landscape and challenge of international trade that somehow keeps you under “the hook” – but in all seriousness, I can’t think of many other diverse businesses to be involved in … as well, of course, meeting many interesting people over time.

Massive Module Shipment From Tianjin to Cosco Shipyard

How would it be best for our readers to get in touch with you?

You can call / email me or even engage via Linkedin.Mobile : +61 428 881 236
Phone :  +61 8 9412 4206
Email : chris.nicholson@cb-projects.com.au
Web :   www.bertling.com/australia

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