If it was up to Wagenborg, millions of tonnes of pulp and paper would be shipped between Europe and North America. Hans Kroon, director for Wagenborg Shipping North America: "I remember it very well," he smiles. "In 1995 m.v. Kroonborg was delivered. With her 9.000 tonnes cargo capacity one of our biggest vessels at the time. Her first trip was to North America to ship a cargo of paper for the Yellow Pages from Canada to Amsterdam. A huge milestone, since this was our first transatlantic voyage. Since then we have always stayed in this region and even opened our own office in Montreal, Canada back in 2003. When I look back, we really became an international shipping company after this step, resulting in multiple chartering offices across the world. Nowadays we no longer bat an eyelid about a direct line between the Great Lakes and Europe.”
Don Walton, Manager North America and International Logistics Operations at Resolute Forest Products, has been in contact with the shipping company since the early years of Wagenborg in North America. "Our relationship with Wagenborg is going extremely well and the cooperation we have as partners goes without saying as one of true partnership. Late nineties, Hans and I met and closed a contract for the annual shipment of 50.000 tonnes of paper to the Mediterranean. Now, about twenty years later, Wagenborg is shipping about 300.000 tonnes of paper from various ports in North America to Europe, the Mediterranean and de Carib. With this volume Wagenborg is one of Resolutes largest logistic suppliers and an important part of our logistic chain”, states Don Walton.
Despite the downturn in the global paper market Resolute is able to maintain her leading position in the market. By constantly improving her production process and logistic chain, costs are reduced. Don Walton explains: “The short distance between our facilities in Pointe-au-Pic and Baie Comeau and the Wagenborg office in Montréal is one of the reasons we are able to communicate in a prompt manner with each other”. Marco Renzelli, Managing Director for Wagenborg Shipping North America Inc., joined Wagenborg in 2007 and acted as the driving force behind extending and strengthening the relationship with Resolute. Looking back on many years he explains: "We think in logistics and truly understand Don’s business. By continuously reflecting and implementing solutions, we were able to reduce the logistic costs of Resolute resulting in this true partnership”. One of these solutions is the use of a specially developed ‘newsprint platform stow system’ for the geared A-class vessels in Pointe-au-Pic. This system exists of three platforms, a spreader and an aluminium head clamp set with which loading operations are executed more safe and fast. The system was developed by Albert Snijders using his technical knowledge and experience gained working with the Wagenborg vessels.
The experiences from Pointe Au Pic on the cage platforms are used to assist the Baie Comeau mill on improving the loading operations. This constant drive for efficiency results in a win/win for all parties involved. With the assistance of Wagenborg, Resolute sells the product with the highest margin possible and Wagenborg gets more business by assisting her customers in being competitive in an international market.
Ever since the first shipments for Resolute m.v. Oranjeborg is deployed on this contract. This vessel is perfectly suited for carrying forest products because of her box-shaped holds and side door. However, as freight volumes have increased substantially, m.v. Oranjeborg needed support to carry the volume that the Oranjeborg carries, which was found in the A-class vessels. Don Walton explains: “Our product is like a fridge; nobody wants to buy it scratched t. So the quality of vessels is essential to avoid damage. Luckily I was able to sell the concept of using the A-class vessels, which was difficult since this A-class vessel would be the first one we would be using without having a side door at our disposal. But it goes better and better now!”, states Don Walton. Marco Renzelli reacts: “It is nice when you design something together and discovering it works. Don made this change before he was forced to. That is really worth a compliment!”, smiles Marco.
The relationship between Wagenborg and Resolute is of such a nature that both companies have the intention to keep working together on a long term basis. “It is important that the vessels, nominated under a long contract period, continue to be of high quality, watertight and extremely suitable to carry forest products”, states Don Walton. “The importance of ship cleanliness and handling will be under the microscope if we agree to extend the present contract. Together we have a lot of work cut out for us to ensure that everyone is comfortable with extending, but when we cooperate I am sure this will happen”, concludes Don Walton.