It is now Thursday the 2nd of November, and with less than 2 months to go, we are entering the year of 2024.
I always remember that time is also passing for me, especially when I need to fill in my birthday either in writing or online. It takes a longer and longer time to scroll back to the year of my birth 1963…. One thing came to my mind in the 2 weeks which have passed since our latest newsletter, and that is the phrase “all the way to zero”. In this context, of course, it is on a positive note meaning all the way to zero emissions as seen written on one of the shipping majors vessels.
From a freight forwarder or shipper perspective, it could perhaps be re-labelled to: “customer service – all the way to zero“. Here I am not particularly aiming at the shipowners— although many of them think that call centres in a faraway land and letting their customers DO IT ALL is the way to the future — but here I point at a symptom of crap customer service with almost all authorities and entities you come into contact with. The example when I tried just last week to amend an invoice goes like this: Welcome to Vattenfall (a major electricity provider here in Sweden)…you have reached… if you want… press… if you want… press… if you want… press… ding dong music and then “for quality and training purposes your call may be recorded” and remember you can always get answers to most questions on our website….then after a couple of minutes (not less than 30 minutes) you are told that you are still in line and we appreciate your patience. Does it sound familiar to you? Did you try to visit your bank recently? Anyone there? Anyone willing to talk to you if you are what we call a “normal customer”? Here in this country, you are requested to do it all online and whilst efficient in many ways of course, the bottom line for me is that:
I CANNOT UNDERSTAND WHY MEGA PROFITABLE COMPANIES CANNOT HAVE BOTH ONLINE AND AT THE SAME TIME FULLY STAFFED CUSTOMER SERVICE AVAILABLE IN PERSON OR AT LEAST BY PHONE IN A TIMELY MANNER? DO YOU KNOW WHY? DO EMAIL ME IF YOU HAVE THE ANSWER…
I have written this in capital and bold letters in order to push through my point. Banks in Sweden have an all time high profit level. Shipowners have had at least an incredible all time high profit level since Corona, and in both instances, it has enhanced the arrogance by which some customers are treated— unless, of course, you are an oligarch, a millionaire or in the case of shipping, a mega customer with hundreds if not thousands of containers to ship. I fail to see why many a CEO around the world with a fancy education, brass plate recommendations and parachutes cannot deliver on the most fundamental of things if you are in the service industry…. yes SERVICE: timely, efficiently, without arrogance and offering it BOTH online and in person— or in person by being reachable.
Perhaps I have the explanation… many of these mega companies all buy their telephone automatic service system from the same company and built in to that system is:
1. A promised delay in answering
2. Always stating that just now we are receiving many calls (even at 01:20 am it is the same statement, as I checked)
3. Your call may be recorded for quality and training purposes (what quality?)
4. A “minute” of 15-20 minutes before getting to between first to tenth in line
5. Being told regularly that you can check the website and find your questions answered
Perhaps the company selling this “software” or telephone answering service is the same one used by all who have sloppy customer service. If so, it would have been great to have shares there as they must indeed be profitable…
On the political front, nothing much has changed during the past 2 weeks except that the EU has perhaps finally come to grips with their culpability in having people roaming the countries of Europe without the right of abode, costing the lives of innocent citizens. But I suppose it is too much to hope that the talking will end up in concrete actions because there are simply too many woke groups and politically correct people in the system. The EU Management reminds me of what the old gunslinger actor Charlton Heston said: “Political correctness? It is tyranny with manners!”
Right. I have come to the end of my barrage, so now I can focus on the interviews at hand this week, and it is a good bunch we have got in store.
1. We start in one of the most beautiful countries in the world, NEW ZEALAND, and we speak to a competent project freight forwarder and all-round provider of logistics called HEMISPHERE
2. We then visit the city of MIAMI VICE, or rather the PORT OF MIAMI with whom we enjoy talking and we learn that MIAMI is so much more than just cruise ships and backdrops to film series…
3. We then go to the home of culture, quotes and really wise prophets (back in the day at least) and here I mean GREECE. PROPEL SHIPPING, part of a large Indian conglomerate, tells us about their plans in bulk and also increasingly in MPP tonnage able to take project cargo onboard
We, of course, provide you with shipping news, trade intelligence for the observant and active reader, and with both a featured video and picture of the week, the newsletter ends nicely. However last but not least, we include the wise words of the week from where we can derive much wisdom.
See you on Nov 16th again.
With best regards,
Bo H. Drewsen
Hemisphere Freight – New Zealand
Adam Lambdin, General Manager at Hemisphere Freight Services was interviewed by Bo H. Drewsen, Editor in Chief at PCW
Port of Miami – Florida, USA
Andrew C. Hecker, CFO & Assistant Port Director at Port of Miami was interviewed by Bo H. Drewsen, Editor in Chief at PCW
Propel Shipping – Greece
Nicolas Skiadas, Commercial Manager at Propel Shipping Greece was interviewed by Bo H. Drewsen, Editor in Chief at PCW
Australia gives the nod to Chinese firm’s lease on Darwin port
Sri Lanka is in trouble with Port of Hambantota after Chinese investment and now it seems Port of Darwin is allowing a longterm lease. I suppose there is a difference between a lease and a loan….but overall port and such kind of infrastructure should ideally be controlled by the country’s own government right?
The Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet of Australia declared that it had decided that was “not necessary to vary or cancel” the Landbridge Group’s 99-year lease of the port in the capital of the Northern Territory.
Arctic Today and Arctic Business Journal
Arctic today is interesting for us all. As human kind strives to over exploit ever more of what we got left in this world, best also from a political standpoint to follow what is on-going in the Arctic where China and Russia for sure have a common purpose. Vital for shipping at some point although using the Northern Sea Route now likely is a no go for countries deemingly themselves democratic.
Day two’s headline act was Alaskan Senator Lisa Murkowski, who discussed US priorities in the Arctic and the two elephants in the room. Speaking at length in front of a packed auditorium that usually houses the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra and various other musical acts, she sang a tune that received a notable ovation from the audience. “America is finally appreciating that we are an Arctic nation.”
Charted: Comparing the GDP of BRICS & the G7 Countries
Whilst on the politics/shipping interface in my previous news today why not this one. Interesting to see the comparison relatively between G7 and BRICS….which by all accounts are expanding. As we all know the more democratic the name of a country is the more non-democratic it is in reality. But trade is trade and money talks… so…
BRICS is set to add six new member states at the start of 2024, raising questions about the expansion of the group’s growing economic power. With its new entrants, the bloc will represent over $30 trillion in GDP or around 29% of the world’s GDP.
This graphic compares the GDP of BRICS nations to the G7 by using GDP projections for 2023 from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Wayfinder delivers 8% total equivalent fuel savings on Brazil-China voyages arriving in early October
If below is true then it is indeed a significant saving in costs achieved!
Leading dry bulk carriers use Sofar Ocean’s Wayfinder platform to keep their vessels safe and access daily optimized voyage guidance that saves fuel, time, and emissions.
Toscotec to Supply Drying Section Upgrade to Panda Paper Mills in Israel
Panda Paper Mills, a subsidiary of Israeli leading manufacturer Sano Enterprises, has selected Toscotec for the supply of a complete drying section rebuild of PM1 at their Netanya production facility in Israel. PM1 produces high quality tissue from recycled fibres for the away from home market. The upgrade aims to substantially increase the machine’s drying capacity and is planned for the second half of 2024.
Rabuka in a Bushmaster at Gallipoli Barracks
Prime Minister of Fiji Sitiveni Rabuka visited Gallipoli Barracks in Queensland to view Thales Bushmaster armoured vehicles following the Pacific nation’s decision to buy an additional 14 of the vehicles.
Louis Dreyfus Company Announces Construction of a Soybean Processing Plant in Ohio, US
Louis Dreyfus Company announced today the construction of a soybean processing plant in Upper Sandusky, Ohio, with integrated crushing, vegetable oil refining and lecithin production and packaging capabilities.
Global glass manufacturer sets up regional HQ in Sharjah – News
PureGlass, a global leader in the glass industry, has set up its first regional production headquarters in Sharjah’s Sajaa Industrial Area, with the support of the Sharjah FDI Office (Invest in Sharjah).
Trip to Turku, Finland on a 24 hour Cruise Using Viking Line from Stockholm, Sweden
Not really cargo shipping in this weeks video however some nice footage taken here during my recent trip to Turku on a 24 hr cruise using Viking Line from Stockholm, deluxe passenger ferries ply the waters between Sweden and Finland daily and with millions of passengers each year it is indeed very popular, scenic and value for money! ps they take of course a large amount of cargo too mainly trailers.
A close up of a beautiful house close to the main Aaland islands and as you can see hundreds, if not thousands of islands dot the ocean between Stockholm/Aaland Islands and Finland – so quite a treat to enjoy a cruise there as many do mainly in the summertime. Writing one’s memoirs there seem to be an idea…