Chartering about 180 vessels all over the world is quite an achievement. So how does Wagenborg organize her global chartering activities? By dividing her trading area into several regions, each headed by its own dedicated chartering office. We asked each of them to give an insight into the mind-set of their region. They all share a common opinion – building strong business relationships is the key to success.
Sweden & Baltic regio: Bengt meuller
“Wagenborg Shipping Sweden AB was the first external office within Wagenborg and started 2001 with an office in Malmö. Wagenborg and Sealink, Swedish shipping company co-operated for many years before 2001. Wagenborg had the management of the Sea-link vessels and Sea-link had well established relation with the forest industry and booked a lot of cargo the Wagenborg vessels. When Sea-link decided to close their business, it was a natural step to form Wagenborg Shipping Sweden AB with the people working at Sea-link to maintain the and knowledge in the area.
The Swedish and Scandinavian mentality is based long relations and a very close relationship between the parties. Problems and challenges are solved with common interest and goal and based on logical solutions in order to find the best possible solution for all parties. New developments are often driven by the Industry which also takes part and contributes to the same. The Environmental goals to be a fossil free in the Baltic region and to be able to contribute to this development and still be competitive.
To work for a family owned shipping company with such an extensive modern fleet with continuous development and very short ways of communication with knowledgeable colleagues gives access to all of the tools of company. To being able to have these tools when working from an external office with close relation with the industry creates a perfect environment to find a solution to every problem and to sell a very strong product. ”
Finland: Jari Järvi
“Our office was founded in 1986 to serve the Finnish industrial clients with comprehensive and through expertise of the shipping markets. In the early years hundreds of spot fixtures were concluded. Later on, the industrial companies started looking for wider, more stable and more structured cooperation in order to secure their increasing cargo flows. During the late 80s and early 90s, Wagenborg was able to increase its market presence on the Finnish market thanks to skillful and active brokers at the Helsinki office. Today, the Finnish market is still very important to Wagenborg, both in exports and imports.
Finland is a country which is totally dependent on seaborne transportation. About 90% of our exports and about 80% of our imports are transported by sea. In order to succeed, Finnish industries and traders must at all times depend on reliable and flexible sea transportation solutions. Not only liner roro or container traffics, but in particular traditional lolo traffic taking care of the big cargo flows within the area. One special feature within this trading area is coldness and ice, which come always and every year. The harsh environment is setting additional and special requirements to the vessels, crews and ports. Navigational issues in ice and icy conditions require well experienced Masters and crews to be able to sail and carry the cargoes safely and well built and maintained fleet. New international rules and regulations are also putting operational and financial pressure on the fleets operating in these waters. Positive challenges here are the increasing industrial investments which many local industries have announced and are planning. Given all these become reality, there will be a lot of new cargoes to be carried in the future.
Having a large and relative young fleet, Wagenborg Shipping is in good position to match the demands of the future. On a longer term naturally new ice classed vessels will be needed and welcomed by the market here. It is a pleasure to work with the large fleet and experienced and flexible organization within Wagenborg Shipping.”
“To truly understand your customers requires daily contact communicating the challenges ahead and a deeper involvement in the customers own logistics dilemmas.”
West Mediterranean: Jose Luis Guerra
“The idea of starting up an office in the West Mediterranean and North West African Area goes back to the year 2001. A local agency combined forces with Wagenborg in Tarragona to support a customer working in the business of sugar beet pellets in Spain. From that moment on the Mediterranean office provides assistance on a 24/7 basis for all operational matters in the West Mediterranean and North West African ports. In 2008 we even opened a second office in Madrid to support all Wagenborg vessels with smooth port calls and all operational matters in the area.
After a couple of years the local agencies in Spain are used to the idea of working through the Spanish brand of the Wagenborg Group and the local touch is a success. I think our customers are really satisfied with the vast experience in agency and liner related business of my team. Knowing the market and speaking the local languages provides that extra assistance in these relatively “difficult” countries and solve problems.
Recently we opened another 2 offices in the Northern African port of Ceuta and in Algeciras. This way we are near Gibraltar and able to focus on Morocco. Also, Ceuta is a strategically based port providing bunker and lube oil services whilst alongside. Algeciras is a major hub for bunkers, delivery of spare parts and crew changes, with our own warehouse and customs agency we can provide rapid services when vessels pass the Straits without delaying them unnecessarily. With Málaga, Sevilla and Gibraltar airports nearby, it is commonly used by seafarers for crew changes.
Morocco has been a stable market for many years. Even during the Islamic Spring Morocco has remained its importing and exporting volumes. Our vessels mainly import timber from the Baltic and agriculture products from North Europe and the Lakes. Main export products are phosphates back to the Baltic and Barites to North Europe. I strongly believe that entering the Moroccan market can open the rest of Northern Africa. So that will be our primary focus for now.”
North America Marco Renzelli
“Wagenborg started sending vessels to North America in the mid 90’s. The future importance of this American market and the importance of having an office close to its important customer base resulted in the Montréal office, which was officially opened in 2003. This move helped speed up the gain in trust from the local industries.
In a couple of years Wagenborg started to be well established as a niche Great Lakes Canada and USA carrier by carrying smaller parcels that the larger Laker vessels could not. However, we were still finding our way and gaining our credibility in the competitive larger North American market. It did not take long for the customers to recognize and appreciate the service and quality of the Wagenborg organization as well as its exciting building program for the future. Since our start, we have experienced considerable growth sailing to and from USA and Canadian waters while servicing main industries and key customers.
I am pleased to say that in a relatively short period since our beginning, the Wagenborg name in North America is now very well known to both the forest products and metal industry as a market leader. The Great Lakes shippers and ports were one of the first supporters of Wagenborg vessels into North America. Although the growth and the customer commitments have been phenomenal, we also have our challenges ahead of us. With new politics in USA more focused on trade imbalances, this may change our industry trade patterns. Also, we see cost increases and threats to viability of trade as Authorities become more and more stringent for owners to comply with environmental issues.
Despite these challenges, we are confident that our partners will help us overcome them. To truly understand your customers requires daily contact communicating the challenges ahead and a deeper involvement in the customers own logistics dilemmas.”