Article in Drycargo International

30th October 2014

Customized transshipment and self-unloading solutions from Oldendorff

The following article about our transshipment projects has appeared in the October issue of "Drycargo International"

Most people within dry cargo circles would probably know Oldendorff Carriers. The German private company has been in existence since 1921 and today owns and operates more than 500 ships. It is considered to be one of the largest dry cargo carriers and has 19 offices around the world.

The department has grown to over 700 people counting office staff and people actively on board various types of marine crafts and transhipment units.

Oldendorff currently manages transshipment activities in Guyana, Trinidad, Turkey and the Arabian Gulf. The commercial and technical management teams are situated in Lübeck Germany in the company headquarter and in Singapore. Common for these transshipment projects are that they run for multiple years and sometimes include ocean freight contracts which means Oldendorff provides an all-inclusive logistical and transportation solution to the client.

‘Our clients are industrial companies which need a reliable long term partner guaranteeing their offshore logistics and transportation requirements are taken care of with utmost diligence — the relationships with our customers are very close for that reason’ says Managing Director, Projects Jacob Juncher. Oldendorff has been engaged in self-unloading vessels for two decades and has several vessels committed to the CSL Pool which mainly operates in the Americas. “Our self-unloaders are employed and commercially handled by the pool whilst technical management is done by Oldendorff — the pool has offered a great way for us to differentiate and explore others types of ships than standard bulk carriers,” says Juncher. “A lot of experience in handling specialized equipment has been gathered over the years — experience we have been able to utilize elsewhere.”

The first transshipment project in which Oldendorff engaged is situated in close proximity to Iskenderun in Turkey. To guarantee timely and efficient coal supply to a new power plant, Oldendorff designed and constructed one of the world’s largest floating coal terminals. The Isken was delivered in 2002 and handles more than 3mt (million tonnes) of coal per year. “We have a team of 94 highly experienced people in Turkey. We are very pleased with the operation,” says Max Zentgraf, Manager Projects. “The Isken is a piece of bespoke equipment — it is the only one of its kind and has worked flawlessly since the beginning. We can fully discharge a Capesize in four days which is better than many shore installations can achieve,” says Zentgraf.

Oldendorff’s second project commenced in 2006 with the establishment of a barge and transshipment operation in Guyana handling bauxite for one of the world’s leading Alumina producers. “We employ 250 people in Guyana and have committed a large amount of equipment to service our customer. The operation is highly complex since we transport bauxite in our barges down a 250km-long stretch of the Berbice river which has very narrow bends — it requires special skillsets to navigate safely. Luckily we got very good people,” says Mia Gerritzen who is the project manager for the Guyana operation. Oldendorff is completely self-sufficient in Guyana having built a compound with living quarters close to the transhipment basin in New Amsterdam. There is even a jack-up dry dock which is used to maintain the 20 × 3,000 tonnes barges, tugs, crew boats and pilot boats. The transshipment is done by a Figee Lemniscate floating crane.

Oldendorff has specialized in transhipment and lightering operations in the Arabian Gulf since 2009. It currently operates a number of Panamax transhipment vessels with heavy duty side mounted cranes and conveyor boom systems which discharge at fast rates in to shore. There are also three self-propelled barges in operation in Abu Dhabi that services a large steel mill situated next to a channel with limited draught. “We are currently servicing a number of clients in the region with our transhippers and we believe there is still potential for growth,” says Linda Kongerslev, General Manager of EOL, an Oldendorff joint venture company based in Abu Dhabi. “Our view is long term — it has to be. Our clients invest and build for the future. Transshipment is needed in many places due to lack of adequate water depth for large bulk carriers. We have the equipment that can safely and efficiently deliver the product to the clients and reduce the time that the bulkcarriers are tied up for discharging,” says Kongerslev.

Oldendorff has two new customized 94,000dwt post-Panamax transshippers delivering in 2015 which will complement the on-going operations in the Arabian Gulf. Oldendorff’s most recent transshipment project is located in Trinidad. The operation has been on-going since 2012 and primarily deals with transloading of iron ore from Handymax to Capesize vessels. A 120-man strong team runs two floating cranes in the Gulf of Paria which is naturally sheltered and enjoys calm weather all year around. “We haven’t had a single day of downtime due to winds or swell,” says Scott Jones, Director Projects. Our operation is very versatile and besides from iron ore we have also handled coal and bauxite.

The savings the customers enjoy are significant when they compare the all in rates Oldendorff offers — to the rates they would have to pay sending small ships far away,” says Jones.

The Oldendorff Project team has also been involved in design and implementation of new off shore equipment which is tailor made for clients that decide to operate themselves. “We look at anything that can provide the customer savings and efficiency improvements. “Says Juncher, ‘it is like working in a Research and Development company where there are no limits — it is fun!”

In 2013, Oldendorff started a project team in Singapore. The team is headed by Jason Baird who has a long background in commodity trading companies. The aim is for Oldendorff to start offering their transhipment and logistical services to their customers in the Asia-Pacific and Indian ocean region.