Ben Line Agencies’ global partner – WaterFront carves new territory with Houston move

18 July 2019 – Global port agency business, WaterFront Maritime Services (WaterFront) has today opened a local agency office in Houston, Texas. The company, which is one of the world’s largest port agency networks, says its Houston office has been established to help charterers, owners, and operators to manage their risk in this strategically important high-volume location.

WaterFront’s Houston office is managed by newly appointed Director for North America Lars Westerberg, a port agency industry veteran who was formerly Regional Director Americas for Seven Seas and Managing Director of Wallem Americas. Prior to these roles, Westerberg also served as Regional Managing Director of Inchcape Shipping Services in North and Central America.

The team in WaterFront’s Houston office will attend vessels directly from Corpus Christi to Lake Charles, including all terminals and all facilities. The Houston office will also serve as the regional hub for WaterFront in North, South and Central America including the Caribbean and is linked to WaterFront’s existing regional hubs in Dubai and Kuala Lumpur to provide 24-hour coverage to its global client base.

Terry Gidlow, Chief Executive Officer of WaterFront, commented:

“On a global basis we see how significant political developments, evolving trade policies and rapid shifts in the supply and demand of raw materials and bulk commodities are impacting traditional trade patterns. Meaning our clients are faced with a whole new range of opportunities and challenges in executing their day to day business. With the opening of our Houston office we are able to bolster the presence we have in other major oil & gas import/export and refining centres such as the Middle East and in Asia.”

The WaterFront global network currently handles more than 45,000 port calls per year through a network of 483 offices in 93 countries worldwide. Unlike other global agencies, Waterfront focuses on providing port and husbandry services for vessels transporting coal, grains, iron ore, minor bulks as well as crude oil, clean and dirty products, chemicals and gas. The company also handles the husbandry requirements of 3rd party and in-house ship managers.

WaterFront’s Director for North America, Lars Westerberg, commented:

“By focusing on specific commodities, we can work with customers operating in this region to add quantifiable value to their businesses. Our work is all about understanding our clients business and their  specific needs and then using our local knowledge and relationships to assist them to mitigate their risk, turn their vessels and cargoes around faster and save them money, while maintaining the highest levels of  safety and compliance.”

Terry Gidlow, chief executive officer of WaterFront, added:

“Lars and his team in Houston bring to the table decades of local experience and relationships in ports and terminals throughout Texas. The Regional Hub function of the Houston office also serves to give our clients in North and South America better access to our Global network.

WaterFront was established by leading regional ship agency businesses Sharaf Shipping Agencies and Ben Line Agencies in 2016. WaterFront is headquartered in Dubai with commercial offices in China, Singapore, Dubai, Norway and the USA. WaterFront has strategic partnerships in the rest of North and South America with renowned local partners such as ACGI on the west Coast of the US and Canada, UNIMAR in Brazil and the Ultramar group in Spanish-speaking South America. For more information about the organisation, visit

Beibu Gulf Port Introduces the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor in Vietnam


On April 16, 2019, Beibu Gulf Port hosted a roadshow in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam to promote the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor and explore business opportunities. More than 150 people from Beibu Gulf Port, Saigon Port Authority, Vietnam industry associations, major shipping companies, local logistics companies, and cargo owners were in attendance. Management from Beibu Gulf Port Authority and the Guangxi Beibu Gulf Office were also present.

To comply with the strategic positioning as a  gateway to ASEAN countries, a key port to support the development of southwest and central-south of China, and a hub port of the One Belt, One Road initiative, Beibu Gulf Port accelerated the construction of the container ports, built up several large-scale, deep-water and professional terminals in recent years, while ports and logistics facilities are continuously improved.

Mr. Mo Nu, Board of Director & Deputy General Manager of Beibu Gulf Port Group, proposed new ideas and called on all parties to work together to continue the momentum of trade between Vietnam and western China.

Mr. Jiang Wei, Deputy General Manager of Beibu Gulf Logistics, said that Beibu Gulf Port is continuously improving the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor. They are committed to ensuring the route’s efficiency, convenience and cost optimization.

Vietnam is the largest foreign trade partner of Beibu Gulf Port. In 2018, the container throughput of Beibu Gulf Port to Vietnam totaled 27,000 TEU, mainly composed of machinery, chemical products, agriculture products, animal products and light industrial products. As of April 2019, Beibu Gulf Port has five container services with a weekly call to Ho Chi Minh Port and 10 container services called to Haiphong Port weekly.

The construction of the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor has vastly improved trade between Vietnam and western China. Transit time between these regions can be cut down by up to 10 days and logistics costs halved .

Representatives from Vietnamese ports, the shipping industry and cargo owners are committed to cooperation between Vietnam, Beibu Gulf Port and China’s western region.

There was also discussion of constructing a logistics system and multimodal transport corridor between Vietnam and Guangxi.

Ben Line Agencies and Beibu Gulf Port have been partners for years. Mr. Matthew Soloman, Director of Ben Line Agencies, spoke about the exciting opportunities for China-ASEAN cooperation as the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor develops and more western Chinese provinces participate.

This is Beibu Gulf Port’s second roadshow in Southeast Asia, after the first hosted in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia last August 2018. Amid a growing partnership, the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor provides an opportunity to further develop trade between Vietnam and western China. 

China Issues Guidelines for Low Sulphur Fuel

With effect from January 1, 2019, vessels entering all Chinese ports should use low sulphur fuel with sulphur content less than 0.5%. Previously, only three ECA zones – Beihai RIM, Pearl River Delta, Yangtze River Delta – had this requirement but it has now been extended to all ports within China.

From January 1, 2020, vessels entering Chinese ports will be required to use low sulphur fuel with sulphur content less then 0.1%.

The announcement below contains more details on the ports affected by this regulation:

China ECA Regulations

Ben Line Agencies Shanghai moves to a new office


Ben Line Agencies moved to a new office in Shanghai with effect on December 8, 2018. Phone and email addresses will remain the same. Office details as follows:

Room 2301, No. 575 Wusong Road, Trinity Tower, Hongkou District, Shanghai 200080
Phone: +86 21 6329 6568
Fax: +86 21 6329 5628

Our team looks forward to providing you with even better service from this new location.

United Nations Project

UN shipment from Laiyang to Mombasa
UN shipment from Harbin/Jilin to Abidjan

Client Profile:

A global transportation partner focusing on containers, break bulk and Ro-Ro cargoes

Challenges Faced:

  • 2nd hand container purchase and positioning to remote site
  • Management of container stuffing
  • Trucking distance more than 1200km
  • Customs declaration for hazardous cargo
  • Ocean freight arrangement
  • Truck – vessel direct loading

Project Solving Process:

  • Immediate reaction after being awarded, purchasing 2nd hand container/trucking arrangement within 3 days
  • We received special permission from local communication bureau for trucking heavy machinery more than 1200km, allowing plenty of time to account for any unforeseen over weight/over width obstacles
  • DG/army item security guard arrangement before loading
  • Dealing with local port authority to allow vessel quick berthing/best connecting truck arrival time

Refinery Project EPC

BLA was appointed to transport over 94, 055 freight tons. From March 2014-February2015, moving from Shanghai to Philippines. Shipments were separated in 12 lots by break bulk vessels, including heavy units of over 100MT.

Client Profile:

A state-owned EPC, engineering and consultation company.

Client Relationship:

Undertaking customs clearance, receiving cargo in port, ocean freight – complete door to door service

Challenges Faced:

  • BLPL staff had to be on standby at port to check the shipments due to complex nature and scale.
  • Various suppliers sent shipments without plans so BLPL staff waited in port for imminent shipments and arranged cargo in port itself
  • Supplier had no export experience and so they had no idea of how to pack safely. BLPL staff visited supplier and gave suggestions and advice on packing.
  • We checked the packing once cargo arrived in port, and found certain packing unsatisfactory. We gave notice to client to amend packing in order for safe sailing.