To understand our clients, we must know their products.
As freight forwarders we use most of our time at the office. We are dealing with port and route surveys, technical drawings, centre of gravity, stowage plans, vessel drafts, bunker adjustments and many different type of cargoes… scrubbers, boilers, generators, engines, thrusters. But what are the cargoes used for? What do the cargo look like and how does it operate in reality?
To find out, I ripped out two days of my calendar and lived on-board one of the biggest oil tankers in the world. The ship was 274 meters long, 48 meters in width and had a total height of 51 meters. Not only I lived on-board the vessel, I also experienced a Chinese shipyard from the inside. Something which can only be described as a small city with walls, including everything a normal city has to offer - literally.
From my cabin, through a small round 7 centimetres thick fire protected window and the outside steel scaffolds, I could see the cargo deck covered in hundreds of steel pipes. Followed by 15 Chinese workers, I went through a small entry from the deck and zigzagged 35 meters down into the narrow ballast tank. In the bottom of the ballast tank the average temperature was +50 degrees and the humidity nearly 100. Believe me when I say: these men at the ship are though!
In two days I learned a lot: How the scrubbers are cleaning the exhaust air, how the boilers are heating the crude oil, how the generators are powering the machines, how the thrusters and pumps are controlled, and how a vessel is forced to use the ballast tanks properly.
... And btw: Did you know that the Chinese mitten crab can now be found everywhere in the world? This is what happens if a vessel does not replace and treat the water in their ballast tanks frequently.
Jonas Frank, Managing Director, China
+ 86 21 5882 4642 ext 812