Open mindset results in dedicated Pacific trade
23 April 2019
Shipping

Open mindset results in dedicated Pacific trade

Shipping dry cargo from the US East Coast to the Far East is nothing special. What is unusual is when inbound and outbound trade turns out to be similar in terms of volume, frequency and vessel needs. And what is even more special when a shipping company succeeds in bringing two businesses together and optimises shipping logistics for both. This is the story of Wagenborg, Alcoa and Rayonier Advanced Materials.
Denisha Lubiani

Denisha Lubiani

Chartering and Operations Manager Alcoa

Marc Leblanc

Marc Leblanc

Senior Manager Logistics Rayonier

Wagenborg has been active in North America since the late nineties. From the office in Montreal - led by managing director Wagenborg Shipping North America Marco Renzelli - Wagenborg has claimed its position in the region. “By listening carefully to our customers and being in constant conversation with them, we have been able to establish our name here,” says Marco. “We think it is important to know our customers’ markets and to understand how and where they purchase their commodities. The trick is to respond to this with our fleet and bring it together in the niche in which we operate.” Hans Kroon adds: “That is why we attend the pulp week in Vancouver for instance. This way we know China imports lots of cellulose. Also, I met Marc Leblanc here for the first time in 2000.”

Rayonier Advanced Materials

Marc Leblanc, Senior Manager Logistics at Rayonier, has been in contact with the shipping company since the early years of Wagenborg in North America. “Our relationship with Wagenborg goes back to the late nineties. In that period, I worked for Donahue/Tembec. Hans and I met when we bought a paper mill, including the shipping contract with Wagenborg. From that time on I’ve been dealing with Wagenborg: 19 years now.”

 

Rayonier Advanced Materials is exporting about 350.000 40ft containers and 200.000 tonnes of breakbulk on an annual basis. “Our breakbulk volume is originating from our location in Matane.”, continues Marc. “Back in the days, we did not have a contract-based relation with Wagenborg. We only did some spot charters to the Far East, especially during winter time. Now, about twenty years later, Wagenborg is responsible for a monthly shipping line of about 150.000 tonnes of pulp from the US East Coast to Korea and China.”, states Marc.

 

With this volume is Wagenborg one of Rayonier’s largest logistic suppliers and an important part of our logistic chain. “With financial stability, quality of service and a flexible fleet, Wagenborg has proven to handle our cargo excellent”, continues Marc. “Wagenborg has always been able to offer multiple options for us. This proves once again last year when Marco presented us a great opportunity. Peering with Alcoa to the Far East would result in a win-win-win situation”.

"The professionalism and the customer service are better than other companies."

Marc Leblanc - Senior Manager Logistics at Rayonier

Alcoa

Alcoa is an American-based company in the production of Bauxite, Alumina and Aluminum products. Denisha Lubiani, Chartering and Operations Manager, tells: “In 2009 we had our first spot fixture with Wagenborg. Shortly after we closed a first COA.” During some years this relation strengthened with regular shipments of anodes, alumina and petcoke. “Since we consider Wagenborg as a reliable and stable partner with high safety standards and operational excellence, we looked into this Far East trade with them. Wagenborg was able to create a safe loading plan to maximize stowage, without a contract or promise from our side!” Marco explains: “To come to a safe plan on optimizing the vessel intake my colleagues Siep Willemsen and Alfonso Guadagno did a great job by working together with the local plant in Baie Comeau. This was a crucial step in getting this deal concluded and staying competitive.” “It took us a while to validate that Wagenborg indeed made a great and safe plan. This is one of the many examples of why Wagenborg is a strategic partner to Alcoa”, states Denisha.

Partnering up

After some years of shipping for both Rayonier and Alcoa, a great similarity between both companies came clear. Marco, responsible for the Wagenborg branch office in Montreal, explains: “With a comparable shipping frequency, volume of unitized cargo and a need for ice-classed box-shaped vessels, we got the idea to combine both trades. I reached out to Marc and Denisha with this opportunity for us all.”


Early 2018 Rayonier, Alcoa and Wagenborg discussed a monthly Pacific trade between Canada and China. A transparent and cooperative attitude of all parties involved resulted in the agreement for multiple shipments a year between the US East Coast and the Far East. A major ingredient for this agreement was the trust in Wagenborg by both Alcoa and Rayonier.

"We consider Wagenborg as a reliable and stable partner with high safety standards and operational excellence"

Denisha Lubiani, Chartering and Operations Manager Alcoa

Flexible fleet

Marc explains: “I think this three-partnership is a good match. Not only do Rayonier’s and Alcoa’s trade patterns position and reposition the vessels perfectly for Wagenborg, but also we gained flexibility in our production volume, since we are able to put an A-class (15.000 DWT) or T-class (21.000 DWT) in service”. Denisha adds: “For us the box-shaped holds make the Wagenborg vessels perfectly suitable for carrying many of our commodities”. Marc continues: “Also the Wagenborg vessels are perfect for us year-round because of their ice-class. We are now able to ship 12 months instead of 9 months before.”

 

“Talking about ice”, continues Denisha. “This partnership with Rayonier was not the first revolutionary idea from Wagenborg. In 2016 we decided to do the first north west passage from China to Canada with Wagenborg. Although this would be the first time for a European shipping company, we trusted Wagenborg and supported them to make this a success. Ever since, we try to accommodate these sailing when the time is right.”

Towards the future

The future seems bright for all companies involved. However, challenges lie ahead. “The biggest challenge is IMO 2020”, states Marc. “A lot is unknown for all of us. What will happen to freight rates? Will there be sufficient fuel? Before renewing the contract, we have to sit down with the three of us, but I am confident we will create a solution.” Denisha confirms: “The upcoming fuel regulation will be challenging for everyone. We have to make sure our cargo keeps moving. So far all is going well, and I am looking forward to continuing in the future”.


“The biggest highlight in our relationship are the people of Wagenborg. The professionalism and the customer service are better than other companies. Not only now, but always been. Marco is a great guy and Hans has always been there for us since the beginning as a great ambassador for Wagenborg. Anyone can have a ship and manage it, but not the way Wagenborg does!”, concludes Marc

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