“After my military service I had registered with the employment office. I was quickly called with the message that ‘they had a great job for me: shipping agent’. I had no idea what that meant. Still, I started a conversation at Eems Dollard Scheepvaartkantoor (EDS) and met Gerben Matroos - an old classmate - whose father was the director. In 1986 I ended up in shipping. Eventually I worked at EDS for ten years before Wagenborg acquired over the company with its people and customers.
After the acquisition, I started at the stevedoring department at Wagenborg at the old terminal in the port of Delfzijl. I mainly took care of the old EDS customers with matters such as waybills and customs handling of cargoes such as cellulose and hardwood. A new challenge quickly came on my path when I assisted Taco de Vries in 1998 with the more project-related matters within Wagenborg: Wagenborg Projects & Logistics was born with this. I remember it well: I did my first big project for Wartsilä. There had to be transported an ship engine to Rotterdam. On a pontoon. And that had to be very precise, otherwise it could not be handled in the port of discharge. We had measured everything ourselves and just had to work. That was really pioneering! Later, together with Taco, I went to Nedlift in Groningen, where Taco became director, and from there he managed project work. There was actually too much work for us, so there was expansion for this. Arjan de Jong and Cock Molle joined WPL. Then Taco completely focused on Nedlift and I went back to Delfzijl.
“That was really pioneering!”
At the chartering department a few people left at the same time and I was asked by Jaap Teekman to come and work here. I did this for about two years. Koos Zumkehr then took over the baton from Jaap Teekman and wanted to set up an operations department. I wanted to join forces and think along. Actually I went back to my roots as a shipping agent from my EDS time. I experience good memories of that. One of my best experiences was in the Eemshaven. I was on board a Nigerian ship, which was swinging due to a violent storm. I drank coffee with the captain when bunches started to burst. With “Mr. Agent, please help us! You know how to help! “, I was called upon: but I had never sailed! Meanwhile we were already in the middle of the port. On my request, we left the port and we anchored in the Doekegat. I had already informed boatmen and the pilot via VHF. Soon Wagenborg Towage came to help to replace bunches. The crew was really grateful: great!
A favorite ship? I do not really have that. However, I do find it particularly nice to work with captain owners through the close and personal bond. “