Adri Kombrink - Senior Chartering Broker
"Every week I see it as a challenge to make sure that as many ships as possible are booked for the weekend"
Adri Kombrink has been booking cargoes for our vessels for more than 20 years. Negotiating, responding flexibly to the circumstances, networking: it is his thing.
Have you been working in shipping all your life?
"No. I had a commercial education, played football and loved sports, so I ended up in the sports trade. At the age of 24, I was a store manager. But the shipping industry kept attracting me. Not surprising with a father who owned a tugboat and in-laws working in shipping. I applied for a job at Wagenborg in 1996, but was offered a job during the procedure with Bebeka, a marine fuel dealer. A few years later I met the gentlemen Teekman and Vuursteen at a launch. They hadn’t forgotten me and had a vacancy. Not much later I started in the Chartering department."
What was it like when you started working at Wagenborg?
"We had a small group of enthusiastic colleagues, a family business with a nice atmosphere and a very nice job. At Bebeka I provided the fuel and then a ship disappeared from view again. It is much more fun to be constantly involved with the ships, in the entire trajectory. But I especially noticed the cooperation between colleagues. We were allowed to make mistakes, but we had to learn from them."
What mistake you made would you never make again now?
"I once booked a grain load without building in a margin for stability. This can cause sloshing, just like water, and can eventually even cause a ship to capsize. I knew that, but in my enthusiasm to book a shipment, I hadn’t thought of it. Fortunately, I was able to fix it in time."
Which cargo you have booked are you most proud of?
"One of our 9,000t vessels was on her way with a wood load below deck from the Baltic to Italy. On the deck I then found a ship section for a cruise ship that had to go from Le Havre to the yard in Genoa. It was a very large piece of aluminum, it was fitting, measuring and calculating. At that time we did not have any supercargos yet, you decided in consultation with the captain whether it would fit. The section protruded a lot on both sides, but because the deck was above the quay, we could still transport it."
You have been doing this work for more than 20 years now. What makes it so much fun? "
"Every week I see it as a challenge to make sure that as many ships as possible are booked for the weekend and do not end up being ‘spot’. I like negotiating, concluding loose loads and contracts. I have a lot of freedom and responsibility in this, but we always do it in consultation. Sometimes a ship is delayed, other times a cargo is not ready. You have to be flexible with this, try to ensure that you have a ship in the right position at the right time. Building a good network and building a bond with customers is essential for this. Unfortunately, traveling is not possible at the moment, because visiting customers and relations I like the most."