“I’ve always been interested in the shipping industry. As a lad of 12 I often went down to the harbour at Delfzijl to watch ships being loaded and unloaded. So nautical college seemed a good idea. After my military service I saw a job advert for Wagenborg in the Eemsbode newspaper. I’d never really heard of the company, but I did know that they had trucks. So I wrote my one and only ever job application! After an interview with Jan van Straaten and Siebe van de Pruik I was able to start work as an administrative assistant.
Back then, the company was a lot smaller, with a fleet of about 25 ships and an office staff of 50. We all knew one another. That’s different nowadays. Wagenborg’s growth has made the company more impersonal. But the positive aspects of the family business have remained: the open culture and the short lines of communication, where you just drop in to talk to one another. That growth challenged me a lot and offered me prospects, so I’ve never felt the need to work anywhere else.
“The positive aspects of the family business have remained”
I remember a lot of events from my career with Wagenborg, both fun things and less fun things. I have a very special memory of the naming of the Balticborg in Haraholmen in 2004, when two jet fighters from the Swedish air force gave an impressive display above the harbour. On the other hand, as a financial guy, I also saw the impact of the crisis on Wagenborg in 2009-2010. That made a pretty big impression, I can tell you!
What’s my favourite ship? As regards appearance, then the T Series with its cranes and its nice length-to-beam ratio. But when I look at the returns, I have to say the Egbert Wagenborg.”