The Asian market is becoming more and more important to Wagenborg. Besides the fact a lot of Wagenborg vessels are built in Shanghai, many Wagenborg seafarers are Asian and commercially, the region is growing in importance. That is why we recently opened a brand new state-of-the-art office that will oversee all Wagenborg’s South East Asian interests. This office has been set up to enhance Wagenborg’s market position in South East Asia and to coordinate the increasing number of Filipino seafarers on the Wagenborg fleet.
Wagenborg South East Asia
15th Floor, A-Place Building, Coral Way
Central Business Park 1, Island 1A
Macapagal Avenue, Pasay City, Philippines 1308
T +63 2 553 6866
F +63 2 828 6897
Wagenborg South East Asia Inc. officially opened for business in Manila in mid-2013. By establishing this new office Wagenborg is able to handle the increasing number of Asian seafarers’ movements in a more efficient way, which will eventually result in more control and a better service to the Wagenborg fleet and our customers. The new office is located on the Coral Way in Pasay City, Metro Manila. This area is perceived as the most important business area for international shipping companies and many non-Filipino shipping companies are represented there.
The idea to start a 100% Royal Wagenborg branch office in the Philippines to independently execute all operational manning activities for our Asian seafarers came about some 2.5 years ago. Starting a branch office isn’t something you ‘just’ do. Wagenborg is always keen to maintain the knowledge, standards and values of the Wagenborg culture. Therefore, we decided to permanently station a Dutch colleague there while the branch was starting up. Remco van Rossum, Senior Account Manager of the Crewing Department in Delfzijl, considered this special project an opportunity he wanted to contribute to. As an expat Remco was transferred from Delfzijl to Manila and was asked to manage the coordination between all Wagenborg’s Asian manning agents and the fleet for the upcoming three years - quite a challenge! What is it like to make such a huge change? Remco outlines his experiences...
“In the beginning there were mainly brainstorm sessions and discussions about the added value of the Manila branch office and the question about which operational activities would be actually moved to Manila. I was under the assumption I would be in Manila on a regular basis to give direction to the new branch office. I never realised this would be a long period with many years spent abroad. For someone who likes clarity and certainty, this turned out to be a huge step. However, it did not shy me away from moving to the Philippines, I gave my final “yes” for my official transfer to Wagenborg South East Asia.”
Living as an expat
“Living as an expat is quite a challenge and makes me the person I am now. I have been working for the Wagenborg Crewing Department in Delfzijl since 2004. Ever since then, I have had the possibility to travel multiple times for business purposes. Consequently, I experienced Manila and met my colleagues over here. However, visiting the Philippines once in a while is quite different from actually living in a city with over 12 million people. Not only am I living in a metropolis now, I am also learning to deal with a different culture, way of living and standards which are quite different to those of The Netherlands.
“Personally I consider this a big opportunity to gain lots of life experience. I left my trusted environment in The Netherlands – the quiet, picturesque and characteristic Dutch town of Annen – and moved to Manila on the other side of the world. One moment I am surrounded by friends and family; the next I am on my own in a megacity. This demands quite an adaption. I needed to start my life again in a country where I am not able to speak the local language. Besides that, Manila is not well known as a city that houses many expats in contrast to Hong Kong, Shanghai or Singapore. Fortunately, I can fall back on other Dutch people in the ‘Manila Dutch Club Philippines’ and celebrate typical Dutch events such as King’s Day, Sinterklaas and having a New Year’s drink!”
“If I want to succeed, in business and personally, I have to go out. An active approach - to see opportunities and have a positive attitude - are needed to be successful in Manila and to feel at home. To live in Manila for a longer period enables me to extend my network, for business as well privately. I meet many people with different roots, working in different areas and all with their own ideas of life. This results in a better understanding of the environment I am working in.”
Manila - the world’s crewing capitol
The Philippines is well known as the world´s biggest sailing nation, which means many specialised colleagues from other shipping companies and/or manning agents are living and working in Manila. That in turn, makes Manila the world’s capitol for crewing activities. “By meeting these people I gather experience and information which can be used to improve the daily operations and actions of Wagenborg South East Asia.”
“To harvest success in this country, I consider it important to adapt to the Filipino way of thinking. As an expat I am always looking for the balance between the Western way of thinking, the Wagenborg style of working and the characteristics of the Philippines. I am always trying to connect these worlds and come out stronger, more powerful and successful. With the knowledge and experience of my new colleagues in Manila I am sure we can be an ‘added value’ to Royal Wagenborg.”
“Wagenborg South East Asia is expected to grow knowledge, experience and activities in the future. We hope to be a supplier of qualified personnel for other parties. Besides that, Wagenborg South East Asia will grab all commercial opportunities on its journey.
For our current organisation, which has developed over the last 116 years, it is most likely that opportunities will occur in South East Asia that may be interesting for one of our companies. With this in mind I think it has been a wise step to spread our wings and start developing the Asian market.
Working on our brand
“After one year at Wagenborg South East Asia I cannot conclude otherwise than it has been a good decision to be stationed here permanently. It takes time and energy adapting to a country that is organised, structured and working differently to The Netherlands. However, the long and successful business experience of Royal Wagenborg is of great value when it comes to success in the Philippines. The successes and philosophy of Wagenborg provide a good basis from which Wagenborg South East Asia can succeed. Although Wagenborg is a wellknown brand in the Dutch maritime world, here we have to fight other European, Korean and Japanese companies. With our team we are doing our utmost to present Wagenborg in a proper and professional way to let the Asian maritime world know that Wagenborg is here to stay,” concludes Remco.
“With our team we are doing our utmost to let the Asian maritime world know that Wagenborg is here to stay.”