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“The Chartering Department is the first link between our
customers (the Charterers) or their broker and the Shipping
Company. If someone has a cargo of chemicals, he or she will
call a broker or in some cases contact us directly. Let’s say
you have a product from the East Mediterranean that needs
to be shipped to the Continent. If we have a suitable ship
that is in position for the cargo, we will start negotiating the
main terms, such as freight and hours allowed for loading and
discharging. This might sound easy, but believe me, there are
many things to discuss and agree upon. For us it is of course
essential that we always calculate the voyage before making
cargo decisions. In many cases we also have to involve the
operator who is in charge of coordinating the voyage with
the Master. Before we close the deal, I often have to confirm
various conditions and confirm that the specifications for the
actual ship are in compliance with the client’s regulations
and the local, national and international regulations applying
to the transportation of that particular cargo/product. We
therefore depend on a professional operations department,
and close cooperation between chartering and operations is
critical,” Torstein Alvestad explains.
“One important task is managing the contracts we have with
our contract partners. This requires a focus on solutions. It all
boils down to logistics and which vessel is the best candidate
for each contract cargo. We often say that everything is
possible until proven otherwise. At Seatrans, it is not an
overstatement to say that the fleet has been shaped by the
long term contracts we have had.”
“I work with a group of three others at the Chartering desk. We
have separate, but also common responsibilities and we all
sit next to each other so we have an easy flow of information.
The Mediterranean to Northern Europe trade is my area of
responsibility, while others focus on Northern Europe to the
Mediterranean, the North Sea and the global trade for our
largest chemical tanker vessels. The team of operators sits
next to us so we have no communication problems there.
A close and transparent cooperation with ship management
is also important in order to make the right decisions and
provide our customers with correct information at the right
Torstein Alvestad has a Bachelor’s degree in logistics and
has completed a Master’s degree in Economics at the
Norwegian School of Economics in Bergen. Before he joined
the chartering team at Seatrans, he worked for two years at
another shipping company as a trainee and later as a ship
operator. This type of background is becoming the norm for
new Chartering employees, according to Torstein Alvestad.
“To be a successful chartering broker, you have to love talking
and working with people. You also need skills in developing
good relationships with all kinds of people. Equally, you have
to be a good negotiator, pay attention to details and be able
to make quick calculations and decisions. With regards to
our contract partners, we are expected to deliver a certain
level of service. It is important for us here at Seatrans to try
and deliver beyond what is expected of us. The point is: You
have to treat all the clients with the same professionalism,
eagerness and service,” says Alvestad.
Torstein is young and keen, but never starts work before nine
o’clock. Is he just lazy? “I’m actually used to getting up very
early, but after a couple of years working with Chartering, you
get used to somewhat later working hours. As we start at nine,
we don’t leave the office until five or six in the afternoon,”
Torstein explains. “I feel privileged to work here. I’ve been
here for two years now and I’m still learning every day. I am
lucky to work with friendly and highly experienced colleagues
and the company is great. The Shipowners apply a long-term
perspective to their decisions and strategies, aiming to keep
Seatrans on the market of the future. That is good to know for
both me and our clients.”
Nr. 2 | 2013 |
Worth knowing about
Torstein Alvestad is a chartering broker at Seatrans
Chemical Tankers. Any idea what a chartering broker
does? Let’s take a closer look.
“To be a
have to
talking and