A big potential in the future

Retrospection on the collaboration between Nordkalk and Wagenborg

Nordkalk is the leading producer of limestone-based products in Northern Europe. In 2015 Wagenborg agreed on a three-year term contract with Nordkalk, fully owned by the Finnish Rettig Group, for the transport of limestone and with Bore Ltd. for the acquisition of four multipurpose vessels. Wagenborg was selected responsible for the transport of about a million tonnes of limestone (and related products) with destinations in the Baltic Sea. Recently Nordkalk and Wagenborg renewed this contract for another three years. Together with Julian Rohde, Corporate Shipping Manager for Nordkalk, and Coos Blaauw, Chartering Manager for Wagenborg Shipping, we look back over the past few years and glimpse into the future of both family owned and managed companies.

“It has not been easy in the beginning”, Julian Rohde starts the conversation. “When starting with Wagenborg as a new shipping company for Nordkalk, both had much to learn about each other. There were issues about how to handle our cargo. But I am glad we always had a good dialogue and were able to find good solutions. So, overall I am very satisfied and consider Wagenborg a reliable partner. That is why we continued our cooperation in this new contract”. 

Coos adds: “I fully agree with Julian. Despite some struggles in the beginning, I am happy with the past and look forward to opportunities in the present future.”


“When I look back at last year, Wagenborg Shipped over 1 million tonnes for Nordkalk and indeed: we made most port calls in Storugns.”


Production facilities

Nordkalk has many different locations and operations around the Baltic Sea, such as kilns, quarries and grinding facilities. Julian explains: “Within Europe we have over 30 different locations, of which 22 include quarries or underground mines. From some mining locations we quarry limestone and ship it in big volumes to several of our other production facilities, such as kilns in Finland and Sweden to produce quicklime. On an annual basis we transport about 2 million tonnes of limestone and related products. Wagenborg is our main shipping company. From all our locations the Storugns facility on Gotland is one of the main production plants.“ 

Coos confirms: “When I look back at last year, Wagenborg Shipped over 1 million tonnes for Nordkalk and indeed: we made most port calls in Storugns. Nice to mention: our latest vessel ‘Egbert Wagenborg’ also made her maiden voyage to this port to load 14.000 tonnes of limestone for Kokkola”.

“We have a young fleet of vessels ranging in size from 2.000 - 23.000 tonnes. The m.v. Westborg and m.v. Berkborg are key vessels for Nordkalk.”

Market changes

Julian continues: “A lot can happen in the future; we see the market change rapidly. The climate change is another challenge, leading to growing environmental regulation. In Nordkalk’s case, this is also a business driver, since limestone-based products are needed in various cleaning processes. Nevertheless, we really have to be competitive. You have to understand limestone has a low price. Logistic costs are a big part of our business, so competitive freight prices are key to win in our business. But it is not all about prices. A flexible and diverse fleet make the difference for us. On the one hand we use general cargo vessels for the normal limestone and coals. But on the other hand we need special types of niche vessels for our quicklime.” 

Dedicated vessels

Coos explains: “We have a young fleet of vessels ranging in size from 2.000 - 23.000 tonnes. The m.v. Westborg and m.v. Berkborg are key vessels for Nordkalk. Both vessels are dedicated assigned to the Nordkalk contract and have both been equipped with an excavator to load and discharge themselves.” 

Julian continues: “Especially in Pargas these kind of special vessels are essential to us, since the port is not equipped with port cranes. Another special type of vessel is required for transporting quicklime, which requires a closed system for loading and discharging. “ Coos continues: “We have now a couple of years to develop - or even build - a special dedicated vessel for Nordkalk. It is something we have to investigate.”



Future

“For now it is important for both Nordkalk and Wagenborg to talk in depth on a regular basis about these challenges. This way we both can react on changes in the market.”, states Coos. Julian reacts: “A constant dialogue is indeed important. That is why we like to work directly with a shipowner instead of using a broker. It gives us the opportunity to grow together on the long term. I think there is a big potential in the future and I am looking forward to it. Maybe we even can increase the tonnage to Wagenborg. Supply chain management, logistics solutions and shipping are important for Nordkalk. We are pleased to have signed again a 3-year contract with Wagenborg. Thanks to its large fleet of over 180 general cargo vessels Wagenborg can offer flexible and efficient sea-freights for Nordkalk and its customers. We look forward to continuing the co-operation, and we trust that the good customer service, as well as, increased availability of suitable tonnage for our needs will enhance our business opportunities and our success.”, Julian concludes.


About Nordkalk

Nordkalk is the leading producer of high quality limestone-based products in Northern Europe. The products are used mainly in the paper, steel and building materials industries as well as in environmental care and agriculture. The company’s turnover for 2013 totalled EUR 358 million. Nordkalk employs some 1,050 people and has operations at more than 30 locations e.g. in Finland, Sweden, Norway, Poland, Estonia and Russia. Nordkalk is a member of the Rettig Group.

Figures

  • Turnover: 304 million euro
  • Founded: 1898
  • Active in 10 counties
  • 22 mining locations
  • Employees: 1.000