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Thursday, 31 December 2009

This will put hair on your chest.

(You are getting this note because you subscribed to my blog-The Shipping Blokes Blog)
Seeing it is new year and depending on what part of the world you are in, you are probably either partying hard or nursing a hangover right now.
Have you ever tried a Scandanavian drink called "Aquavit" or otherwise known as "Linie Aquavit"? I remember fondly quite a few nights on board Wallenius vessels in Brisbane docked at Hamilton Wharf with the ships Captain and their local agents serving up shot after shot of this flavoured rocket fuel. Aquavit is distilled from potatoes or grain mash and packs about 45% alcoholic volume punch. In the distilling process different flavours are produced by adding orange peel, lemon, cardamom, cumin seed and various other ingredients.
Every drop makes an interesting journey by sea before it is ultimately sold.

All Aquavit is shipped from Norway across the Equator (hence "Linie") to Australia and back. This tradition started in the 1800's when the owner of a distillery, Jorgen Lysholm, shipped a consignment to Asia that for some reason wasn't accepted and was returned. Upon inspection of the barrels back in Norway he noticed that his Aquavit had developed a richer flavour for it's travels through warmer climates. Hence the tradition was established and continues to this day as a critical part of the process of producing Aquavit. More on Aquavit including a map of it's journey.

So next time you feel like a shot, try some Aquavit. Always a good idea at the time!

Happy new year!

Brad Skelton

The Shipping Bloke

This will put hair on your chest.

(You are getting this note because you subscribed to my blog-The Shipping Blokes Blog)
Seeing it is new year and depending on what part of the world you are in, you are probably either partying hard or nursing a hangover right now.
Have you ever tried a Scandanavian drink called "Aquavit" or otherwise known as "Linie Aquavit"? I remember fondly quite a few nights on board Wallenius vessels in Brisbane docked at Hamilton Wharf with the ships Captain and their local agents serving up shot after shot of this flavoured rocket fuel. Aquavit is distilled from potatoes or grain mash and packs about 45% alcoholic volume punch. In the distilling process different flavours are produced by adding orange peel, lemon, cardamom, cumin seed and various other ingredients.
Every drop makes an interesting journey by sea before it is ultimately sold.

All Aquavit is shipped from Norway across the Equator (hence "Linie") to Australia and back. This tradition started in the 1800's when the owner of a distillery, Jorgen Lysholm, shipped a consignment to Asia that for some reason wasn't accepted and was returned. Upon inspection of the barrels back in Norway he noticed that his Aquavit had developed a richer flavour for it's travels through warmer climates. Hence the tradition was established and continues to this day as a critical part of the process of producing Aquavit. More on Aquavit including a map of it's journey.

So next time you feel like a shot, try some Aquavit. Always a good idea at the time!

Happy new year!

Brad Skelton

The Shipping Bloke

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