“Out of office”

“I wake up in the owners cabin after a few hours of sleep. It’s 5 o’clock in the morning and the BG Ireland has started its engines. After half a day loading and unloading containers at the RST terminal, the BG Ireland is ready to start its new voyage from Rotterdam. My journey on board of a container vessel finally begins”.

At the End of February, I had the privilege to join Captain Tomasz and his crew on the BG Ireland for 4 days. The purpose of my visit was to get a better understanding of the operational business of my customer BG Freight Line. This trip also gave me a unique opportunity to speak to the actual users of the port.

As a Business Manager Shortsea & RoRo for the Port of Rotterdam Authority this trip enabled me to change my perspective from my “office job” to the operational business on a container vessel, sailing from RCT Maasvlakte to RST Eemhaven Rotterdam and eventually to Felixstowe and Grangemouth container terminals in the UK.

The most important eye-opener for me was how time-consuming the entire handling process of the vessel is, especially when I compare this to the time factor in my own day-to-day business. From entering the port, leaving the port and everything in-between, all activities cost a relatively great amount of time. Therefore, communication is one of the most important factors.  

As Captain on a container carrier you need a lot of patience and you are highly dependent on a lot of other parties. Stevedores, pilots, port authorities, boatmen and agents to name a few, are all needed to get the job done. Last minute changes are the standard and dealing with this is normal business for the crew on board of a container vessel. Did this trip change my perspective drastically? No, luckily it did not. As a business manager Shortsea I know all parties involved and needed for an efficient and safe operation.

However, this fantastic experience confirmed my perspective on how to lift the shipping product in Rotterdam to an even higher level. If we, as a port community, want to accelerate, distinguish ourselves from other ports and provide “world class” services to our customers, we need to cooperate and collaborate more and more. We need to spent more time in understanding each other’s business and give notion to each other’s bottlenecks and problems. Changing your perspective from time to time will certainly help you in creating better partnerships. So, therefore, I challenge you to change your perspective.

Patrick Vroegop

Business Manager Shortshea & RoRo - Port of Rotterdam Authority


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