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 www.waterfront-ms.com

Ho Chi Minh hosts Port of Houston Symposium

In April 2019, Ben Line Agencies Vietnam successfully hosted a Port of Houston Symposium in Ho Chi Minh city. With a focus on the Port of Houston and Vietnam-to-Texas trade, the event attracted over 50 stakeholders from a wide range of industries including MLOs, NVOCCs, International Ports, and BCOs ( Furniture, Seafood, Agricultural products, Steel, and timber importers/exporters).

Mr Dominic Sun, Director Trade Development of Port Houston, gave a speech covering the demographics, economy, trade, infrastructure, and port facilities of Houston city. His informative presentation was beneficial for everyone and led into a fruitful Q&A session later in the evening.

Ben Line Agencies opens 6th office in Vietnam

Ben Line Agencies opened its 6th office in Vietnam at Son Duong Port. The branch officially opened on November 28, 2018 and will provide full-scope marine agency, liner agency, integrated logistics & shipbroking services. This will allow us to strengthen our footprint in central Vietnam, closely covering operations in the following ports:

  • Cua Lo Port
  • Hon La Port
  • Nghi Son Port
  • Son Duong Port (Formosa Steel Port)
  • Vissai Nghe An International Port
  • Vung Ang Port

Tug And Barge

Ben Line Project Logistics was appointed to perform an Ocean freight shipment of 2 new tug boats and 6 barges. Ben Line Project Logistics arranged a barge for delivering cradles to vessel first.
Tugs for towing Customer’s newly built tugs and barges to alongside Heavy Lift Vessel for lifting with lifting lugs.
Permits for floating units from Customer to moor alongside Heavy Lift Vessel.

Client Profile:

Client is a French owned company established in Vietnam from 2005. Their products are mainly exporting to French Colonies like New Caledonia, and Seychelles

Client Relationship:

Ben Line Project Logistics has managed the full scope of logistics services from customs clearance, wet towage for tugs and barges to alongside Heavy Lift Vessel, insurance, cargo inspection, loading survey, delivering cradles to vessel by barge and chartering.

Challenges Faced:

  • Ben Line Project Logistics know the operation very well after handling many previous shipments from the same loading and discharge ports.
  • We experienced heavy rains during the loading operations which proved to be challenging but with our HSE coordinators present, we were able to perform the loading in a safe manner without any incidents.

Full Package Solution Vietnam

BLPL was appointed to transport Fabricated steel housing cases 9,000 cbm from Phu My to Turkey.
We arranged the trucking and delivery to port, chartered a vessel to deliver to Turkey.

Client Profile:

Australian based global power solution provider to the gas turbine power industry

Challenges Faced:

  • Our client required a very fast and fixed transit time from Vietnam to Turkey but also required flexibility as the finish date of the fabrication was tentative and extended multiple times.
  • Ben Line worked with a local trucking company to ensure the right amount of trucks had been booked for the tentative ready dates. Through multiple meetings with the fabricator, the client and Ben Line in Vietnam were able to determine the correct dates for loading. This was completed in a safe manner without any incidents. The vessel was fixed in April with a tier 1 European break bulk carrier and communication for the lay day of the vessel was perfect and without delay. Ben Line were the appointed port agents by the carrier so this was a full package under Ben Line control. The vessel loaded all cargo within a timely manner, safe and as per the documentation, then sailed as per schedule direct to Turkey.
  • With cargo readiness dates moving multiple times we had to leverage on solid relationships with the local trucking company and carrier to ensure there were no added costs to our client. There were a few extra services added to the Ben Line scope at last minute (extra purchase of containers and surveyor reports) but Ben Line Vietnam’s professionalism came through and solved these issues without delay.

Maritime Barge And Tug Lift

Client Profile:

A new customer bidding for the building of floating docks, 20 barges and 16 tug boats for the Noumea market

Client Relationship:

BLA was awarded the project shipment from Ho Chi Minh to Noumena in providing the services of ocean freight and heavy lift

Challenges Faced:

  • Setting up a suitable schedule for wet towage cargos from yard to alongside vessel
  • Unsuitable cradle could have caused damage for tug boat in loading, transport and unloading
  • Accessories inside barge
  • Ocean transport Vn – NC
  • Permit for wet stowage cargos from yard to alongside vessel
  • Since the crew needed a lot of time to open the pontoon the cargoes had to be tied alongside to wait for loading
  • Position of tide meant that the tug boat could not be put in the optimum position in cradle

Project Solving Process:

  • We had to push the crew to open the pontoon as quickly as possible and had to designate a worker to look after the cargo at all times to ensure no loss or damage was caused
  • Since BLAV has a close relationship with local partners we were able to help merchant arrange permit for wet stowage cargo exactly on time
  • Due to the backward tide we decided to wait until next morning, when there was suitable tide to place tug boat in the best position.