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Sunday, 6 December 2009

Where does a shipping container go in a year?

(You are getting this note because you subscribed to my blog-The Shipping Blokes Blog)

The BBC undertook a quirky project this past year that I thought you might find interesting.

They tracked a 40' shipping container for a full year on it's journey around the world carrying numerous different types of cargo. During the year it covered about about 50,000 miles by sea, road and rail. It is completing it's final voyage now to South Africa where it will be retired from service and turned into a soup kitchen.

This is fascinating and well worth a look. For more on this project including videos of it's journey and an interactive map of it's travels click here to go to the BBC's "The Box" website.

All for now,
Brad Skelton
The Shipping Bloke

Where does a shipping container go in a year?

(You are getting this note because you subscribed to my blog-The Shipping Blokes Blog)

The BBC undertook a quirky project this past year that I thought you might find interesting.

They tracked a 40' shipping container for a full year on it's journey around the world carrying numerous different types of cargo. During the year it covered about about 50,000 miles by sea, road and rail. It is completing it's final voyage now to South Africa where it will be retired from service and turned into a soup kitchen.

This is fascinating and well worth a look. For more on this project including videos of it's journey and an interactive map of it's travels click here to go to the BBC's "The Box" website.

All for now,
Brad Skelton
The Shipping Bloke

Monday, 30 November 2009

A public "Thank you" to my team.

(You are getting this note because you subscribed to my blog-The Shipping Bloke's Blog)

Last Thursday night I attended the equivalent of the Academy Awards for the shipping industry in Australia. The Lloyds List Australian Shipping and Transport awards. The aim of the awards is to recognise the achievements of the industry's finest practitioners.

Thanks to the innovative thinking, safe practices and hard work of my team, Skelton Sherborne, was nominated as finalists in two of the fourteen categories. Namley; Freight Forwarder of the Year and the Safe Transport category.

I am very proud we made the final as the competition is fierce and stacked with huge multi-national players and public companies.

While sadly we didn't win either category we did get runner up in the Freight Forwarder of the Year which we are still very pleased about.

So, to my team. Thank you! Your commitment to our customers, the company and I during what has been a challenging year in shipping has been and remains inspiring to me.

We'll hopefully bring it home next year!

All for now,
Brad Skelton
The Shipping Bloke

A public "Thank you" to my team.

(You are getting this note because you subscribed to my blog-The Shipping Bloke's Blog)

Last Thursday night I attended the equivalent of the Academy Awards for the shipping industry in Australia. The Lloyds List Australian Shipping and Transport awards. The aim of the awards is to recognise the achievements of the industry's finest practitioners.

Thanks to the innovative thinking, safe practices and hard work of my team, Skelton Sherborne, was nominated as finalists in two of the fourteen categories. Namley; Freight Forwarder of the Year and the Safe Transport category.

I am very proud we made the final as the competition is fierce and stacked with huge multi-national players and public companies.

While sadly we didn't win either category we did get runner up in the Freight Forwarder of the Year which we are still very pleased about.

So, to my team. Thank you! Your commitment to our customers, the company and I during what has been a challenging year in shipping has been and remains inspiring to me.

We'll hopefully bring it home next year!

All for now,
Brad Skelton
The Shipping Bloke

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Reassuringly Expensive.

I caught up with a few good mates of mine for a few beers recently who all run their own businesses in diverse industries. I consider these blokes very business enlightened and I really enjoy drawing on their collective knowledge and experience.

We were talking about the large number of requests for tender we are getting across our desks lately, particularly since the GFC kicked it, and the pros and cons of tendering for new business versus the business that comes to you through marketing efforts or exisiting customer referrals.

While we agreed we all generally have won more tenders than we have probably lost, the time and effort invested in them is absolutely massive and sometimes makes you question the commercial sensibility of participating in the exhaustive processes that some companies want to run.

My experience suggests that decisions are driven nearly always by three factors. Namely: PRICE, PRICE and PRICE.

Sure the tender always says that quality of service, expertise, safety record blah blah blah will be prime considerations in the decision making process however when we win tenders and sit down with our new client we are usually told "Congratulations. You had the cheapest price".

It's the classic business paradox of price versus service. It is pysically impossible in most industry's to be the cheapest and also the best. The two are diametrically opposed to each other and to delivering your business it's imperative. A profit!

After about the fourth or maybe fifth beer, one of the guys said in his own business he always looks for the "Reassuringly Expensive" option ahead of the cheapest option and he would usually go with this as this is where the reliability and professionalism is usually found. I have to agree. You really do get what you pay for.

So for me even in tighter times, like my mate, I will usually go with the "Reassuringly Expensive" supplier who will be there for me in the long run with a consistently good quality product or service. Hence the reassurance I feel in making this decision.

Whether you are a builder, a lawyer or a candlestick maker....nearly all industries have become commoditised in someway so there will always be someone promising to do it cheaper and better and more willing to lose money than you to land the deal. Now with the internet and the plethora of companies trying to get noticed, "FREE" is the catch cry of the net. Where to from there? Well you don't go broke on the deals you miss out on so "Let them go" I say. These companies just won't be there at the finish line.

Do you remember the scene from the movie "Armageddon" with Bruce Willis and Steve Buscemi about the lowest bidder? If you are in the process of sending out a tender for new suppliers then I'll let the boys have the final word.
Check this YouTube clip out!




All for now.
Brad Skelton
The Shipping Bloke

Reassuringly Expensive.

I caught up with a few good mates of mine for a few beers recently who all run their own businesses in diverse industries. I consider these blokes very business enlightened and I really enjoy drawing on their collective knowledge and experience.

We were talking about the large number of requests for tender we are getting across our desks lately, particularly since the GFC kicked it, and the pros and cons of tendering for new business versus the business that comes to you through marketing efforts or exisiting customer referrals.

While we agreed we all generally have won more tenders than we have probably lost, the time and effort invested in them is absolutely massive and sometimes makes you question the commercial sensibility of participating in the exhaustive processes that some companies want to run.

My experience suggests that decisions are driven nearly always by three factors. Namely: PRICE, PRICE and PRICE.

Sure the tender always says that quality of service, expertise, safety record blah blah blah will be prime considerations in the decision making process however when we win tenders and sit down with our new client we are usually told "Congratulations. You had the cheapest price".

It's the classic business paradox of price versus service. It is pysically impossible in most industry's to be the cheapest and also the best. The two are diametrically opposed to each other and to delivering your business it's imperative. A profit!

After about the fourth or maybe fifth beer, one of the guys said in his own business he always looks for the "Reassuringly Expensive" option ahead of the cheapest option and he would usually go with this as this is where the reliability and professionalism is usually found. I have to agree. You really do get what you pay for.

So for me even in tighter times, like my mate, I will usually go with the "Reassuringly Expensive" supplier who will be there for me in the long run with a consistently good quality product or service. Hence the reassurance I feel in making this decision.

Whether you are a builder, a lawyer or a candlestick maker....nearly all industries have become commoditised in someway so there will always be someone promising to do it cheaper and better and more willing to lose money than you to land the deal. Now with the internet and the plethora of companies trying to get noticed, "FREE" is the catch cry of the net. Where to from there? Well you don't go broke on the deals you miss out on so "Let them go" I say. These companies just won't be there at the finish line.

Do you remember the scene from the movie "Armageddon" with Bruce Willis and Steve Buscemi about the lowest bidder? If you are in the process of sending out a tender for new suppliers then I'll let the boys have the final word.
Check This Out!

All for now.
Brad Skelton
The Shipping Bloke

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Some shipping trivia on plimsoll lines?


(You are getting this note because you subscribed to Brad Skelton's Blog-The Shipping Bloke)


Firstly what is the plimsoll line? It is the horizontal line and marks that you may have seen painted around the hull of the ship near the waterline. It dates back as far as 2500BC in Crete!

Why is it there? It is effectively the safe load line calculated for the ship. As more cargo is loaded on board the weight forces the hull of the vessel deeper underwater. The plimsoll line is therefore effectively the maximum point a vessel may be loaded too to ensure a safe level of buoyancy is maintained for it's voyage. If the plimsoll line can't be seen as it is underwater...then you have an overloaded ship.

There are more than one mark on ships as the depth a hull will float in water will vary depending on a range of factors such as salinity and water temperature.

The letters on the Load line marks have the following meanings:
TF – Tropical Fresh Water
F – Fresh Water
T – Tropical Seawater
S – Summer Temperate Seawater
W – Winter Temperate Seawater
WNA – Winter North Atlantic

The plimsoll line tells the master of the vessel and the vessel underwriters make sure that the ship is operating within safe working limits for seas it will sail through. In fact it is not allowed to sail if the plimsoll line is not visible.

This is why it is so important to have the most accurate cargo weights possible so that the ships planners can keep the vessel inside it's safe working limits and also trim the vessel so it floats evenly in the water.

If there is any other shipping trivia or questions you have, then drop me a note in the comments field and I'll come back to you. Thanks!

All for now,
Brad Skelton
The Shipping Bloke