For over a century Royal Wagenborg has been a logistics partner for many major wood and paper producers worldwide. Once only known in the Baltic, Wagenborg has since earned a worldwide reputation in this market. For example, m.v. Avonborg recently made its 100th voyage from Canada to the Caribbean for Resolute Forest Products. Despite this impressive number, this milestone is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the relationship between Resolute and Wagenborg. Hans Kroon, Marco Renzelli and Don Walton look back.
“We were able to reduce the logistic costs of Resolute resulting in this true partnership.”
Worldwide paper trade
If it was up to Wagenborg, millions of tonnes of pulp and paper would be shipped between Europe and North America. Hans Kroon, director for Wagenborg Shipping North America: “I remember it very well,” he smiles. “In 1995 m.v. Kroonborg was delivered. With its 9,000 tonnes cargo capacity, one of our biggest vessels at the time. Its first trip was to North America to ship a cargo of paper for the Yellow Pages from Canada to Amsterdam. A huge milestone, since this was our first transatlantic voyage. We have stayed in this region ever since and even opened our own office in Montréal, Canada back in 2003. When I look back, we really became an international shipping company after this step, resulting in multiple chartering offices across the world. Nowadays we no longer bat an eyelid about a direct line between the Great Lakes and Europe.”
Resolutes biggest logistic supplier
Don Walton, Manager North America and International Logistics Operations at Resolute Forest Products, has been in contact with the shipping company since the early years of Wagenborg in North America. “Our relationship with Wagenborg is going extremely well and the cooperation we have as partners goes without saying as one of true partnership. Late nineties, Hans and I met and closed a contract for the annual shipment of 50,000 tonnes of paper to the Mediterranean. Now, about twenty years later, Wagenborg is shipping about 300,000 tonnes of paper from various ports in North America to Europe, the Mediterranean and the Caribbean. This volume makes Wagenborg one of Resolute’s largest logistics suppliers and an important part of our logistics chain”, states Don Walton.
A true partnership
Despite the downturn in the global paper market, Resolute is able to maintain its leading position in the market. It keeps its costs down by constantly improving its production process and logistics chain. Don Walton explains: “The short distance between our facilities in Pointe-au-Pic and Baie Comeau and the Wagenborg office in Montreal is one of the reasons we are able to communicate in a prompt manner with each other”. Marco Renzelli, Managing Director for Wagenborg Shipping North America Inc., joined Wagenborg in 2007 and acted as the driving force behind extending and strengthening the relationship with Resolute. Looking back over many years he explains: “We think in logistics and truly understand Don’s business. By continuously reflecting and implementing solutions, we were able to reduce the logistic costs of Resolute resulting in this true partnership”.
One of these solutions is the use of a specially developed ‘newsprint platform stow system’ for the geared A-class vessels in Pointe-au-Pic. This system exists of three platforms, a spreader and an aluminium head clamp set, which makes loading operations safer and faster. The system was developed by Albert Snijders using his technical knowledge and experience gained working with the Wagenborg vessels.
The experience gained from Pointe Au Pic on the cage platforms is used to assist the Baie Comeau mill in improving the loading operations. This constant drive for efficiency results in a win/win situation for all the parties involved. With the assistance of Wagenborg, Resolute sells the product with the highest margin possible and Wagenborg gets more business by assisting its customers to be competitive in an international market.
“It is nice when you design something together and discover it works!”
Quality vessels for a quality product
M.v. Oranjeborg has been deployed on this contract ever since the first shipments for Resolute. This vessel is perfectly suited for carrying forest products because of its box-shaped holds and side door. However, as freight volumes have increased substantially, m.v. Oranjeborg needed support to carry the volume that she carries, which was found in the A-class vessels. Don Walton explains: “Our product is like a fridge; nobody wants to buy it if it’s scratched. So the quality of vessels is essential to avoid damage. Luckily I was able to sell the concept of using the A-class vessels, which was difficult since this A-class vessel would be the first one we would be using without having a side door at our disposal. But it goes better and better now!”, states Don Walton.
Marco Renzelli responds: “It is nice when you design something together and discover it works. Don made this change before he was forced to. That is really worth a compliment!”, smiles Marco.
Towards the future
The relationship between Wagenborg and Resolute is so good that both companies intend to keep working together on a long-term basis. “It is important that the vessels, nominated under a long contract period, continue to be of high quality, water-tight and extremely suitable for carrying forest products”, states Don Walton. “The importance of ship cleanliness and handling will be under the microscope if we agree to extend the present contract. Together we will have our work cut out for us to ensure that everyone is comfortable with extending, but when we cooperate I am sure this will happen”, concludes Don Walton.
“Together we will have our work cut out for us to ensure that everyone is comfortable with extending, but when we cooperate I am sure this will happen!”
About Resolute Forest Products
Resolute Forest Products is a global leader in the forest products industry with a diverse range of products, including newsprint, specialty papers, market pulp and wood products.
Marketing its products in close to 80 countries, Resolute owns or operates some 40 pulp and paper mills and wood products facilities in the United States, Canada and South Korea, and power generation assets in Canada.
Resolute and other member companies of the Forest Products Association of Canada, as well as a number of environmental organizations, are partners in the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement. The group works to identify solutions to conservation issues that meet the goal of balancing equally the three pillars of sustainability linked to human activities: environmental, social and economic.