Working through the shift, Helmut Walgraeve, ICO Terminals
As the trend of moving high and heavy project cargo on RoRo vessels is gaining momentum, companies like ICO Terminals, a unit of Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK) are turning to experienced people of the industry to move that sector forward.
One of those who is helping ICO handle roll-on/roll-off cargo at their various deepsea terminals is Helmut Walgraeve, project manager for the company. Walgraeve is focusing on developing and executing non-car related projects for ICO which include breakbulk, high and heavy project cargo and military transports.
Walgraeve is tasked with following up the breakbulk and project cargo market, handling enquiries and calculating financials to come to quotations, sending out offers, following up the quotes, organising and executing the projects when they materialise and closing the projects when these are completed.
Walgraeve started as a freight clerk in 1992 with Sally Line, but over the course of his career he grew into operational and commercial management positions (Dart Line, APM Terminals, Transfennica), and started up new businesses on behalf of companies or shareholders.
Throughout his career, Walgraeve highlighted the influence of late Simon Taylor, former managing director at Dart Line and board member at Jacobs Holdings.
Until 2007, Walgraeve dealt with pure RoRo industry, continuing in the sector by running the ConRo-connection Transfennica Zeebrugge-Bilbao for Spliethoff Amsterdam. The company started to generate project cargoes shipping on RoRo vessels. “These cargoes needed to be handled in the ports and transferred to barges, trucks or coasters. I learned the business by experience and stepped over to the project business almost exclusively,” Walgraeve said.
Working through the change
Working through a number of changes in his career, and with a number of companies, Walgraeve has also seen the industry shift. He noted that the business moves fast and keeps changing. “A major change which can be observed is the shift from conventional ships to RoRo-ships for movement of high and heavy project cargoes,” he said.
He further added that besides further growth in the conventional way, he expects the development via deepsea/shortsea RoRo will become significant. Personally, Walgraeve hopes to bring more awareness of the market of this particular shift and the possibilities of Zeebrugge as RoRo deepsea/shortsea platform.