New memorandum for CQR Durban

The directors of Creedence Global Shipping Pte Ltd, a Singapore based NVOCC, recently visited the Durban office of Alpha Shipping and committed to further develop the Far East to South Africa trade lane and reaffirm the appointment of Alpha Shipping as their agents in Southern Africa

“We have worked with Creedence for several years,” stated National Freight Manager, Colin Moonsamy, “and the visit of our Principals further emphasised the opportunities for growth not just in the South Africa market, but also the possibilities of growth in the bordering African countries”

Managing Director of Creedence, Tim Law was impressed with the professionalism and friendly attitude of Alpha Shipping staff, who have given Creedence confidence to continue with their expansion in South Africa.

CONQUEROR would like to congratulate the Alpha Shipping team and invite members with shipments in South Africa to get in touch with the team.

Staff member scoops top award for ‘Understanding Shipping Course’

CQR Johannesburg has always placed an emphasis on training and educating its staff in the field of shipping and logistics through the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers

One of its more recent students, far exceeded their expectations. Director Richard Brook-Hart FICS tells the story”Four years ago, Shirley Ntsoane worked as a cleaner in an office block in Johannesburg, a job that she had done for fifteen years since leaving school. Shirley though had greater aspirations, and encouraged by her friendly attitude and work ethic, Alpha Shipping decided to offer her a job as a receptionist in the Johannesburg office. From that moment on, Shirley began to learn a whole new set of skills, and encouraged by her progress, myself and the other management suggested she studied for the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers Understanding Shipping Course. The course imparts a basic shipping knowledge, and is ideal for new entrants to the shipping industry, and to anyone in other professions who have close associations with shipping. It comprises of nine modules with written assignments, culminating in an oral and short written exam.”

“From the start, Shirley excelled, scoring high marks, and finally achieving an average pass mark of over 80%. We have now promoted Shirley to the position of Internal Sales Manager, where she continues to develop her passion for shipping, whilst retaining the humility of her origins.” Recently, Alpha Shipping flew Shirley to Durban, where she received her certificate from the President of the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers, Bruce Ogilivy FICS. Some of Shirley’s colleagues also attended the lunch in respect and recognition of Shirley’s achievement.

Conqueror would like to congratulate Shirley on this tremendous achievement and invite members with shipments in South Africa to get in touch with the team.

Into the southern ice

Alpha Shipping which is a CQR member in both Durban and Johannesburg, South Africa extends its services to all corners of the world, literally. These include shipments to Antarctica. Taking advantage of the southern summer, Alpha Shipping has arranged the lease of nine tank containers of aviation fuel and polar diesel oil to be shipped from Cape Town to the Antarctic. The aviation fuel is urgently needed to supply aircraft at the various bases, and the polar diesel used for the generators and machinery has an additive to prevent it freezing.
Tank Operator, Tim van Maasdyk says, ‘The ISO tanks take quite a beating from the weather, especially during the winter, when temperatures can plummet to below 40 degrees. Our tanks have to be built of top quality materials to withstand the extremes, and still function properly.’
Alpha Shipping understands the demands placed by clients who expect top quality service at all times, whatever the conditions. So whether it is a shipment to the frozen wastes of the Antarctic or to a mine in the searing heat of the Sahara, Alpha Shipping is always up to the challenge.
We invite all members with shipments in South Africa, to get in touch with CQR Durban.

CQR Durban is the bomb!

Alpha Shipping, Conqueror’s exclusive agent in Durban and Johannesburg, specializes in the shipment of many different types of cargoes including explosives, IMO Class 1. Last month, the team sent a number of these shipments to remote mines in Mali, Burkina Faso and Mauretania. The shipping of such cargo is not for the faint-hearted or those laid-back about time!

The process began with the checking and re-checking of documents before the containers were packed in special wood-lined 20 foot GP containers and inspected by the South Africa Maritime Authority (SAMSA).

When completed, the process of organising the railing of the explosive containers on a special block train from Johannesburg to an explosive yard outside Durban port could begin.

Once the vessel’s laycan was advised, CQR Durban then nominated the vessel with the port, SAMSA, the Police, and the port safety officer for final checking. Because of the experience and training the team has had they were able to advise the vessels owners on all the protocols, and certificates required.  They did their job well, as permission was granted and the vessel was allowed to berth. Alpha Shipping also assisted the Master with the segregation and stowage of the containers according to the IMDG regulations.

As I mentioned at the start, time is crucial; why? Well, because the vessel can only sail during daylight hours!

If loading was not completed by 1700 hours, the vessel would have had to sail anyway, which would have resulted in short shipment. Thankfully, this was not the first time the team had done this so the process was perfectly coordinated.

We invite all members with shipments in South Africa, to get in touch with CQR Durban.

Interview with CQR Durban

Alpha Shipping became Conqueror’s exclusive agent in Durban, South Africa back in October 2012. Once they had had time to settle into the network, we decided to sit down with Director, Richard Brook-Hart, to find out more about the company.

Q. Could you tell me a little about the history of Alpha Shipping?

A. Back in 2004, I met with the directors of Maruba, the Shipping Line. At the time they were planning a container liner service between the Far East and South America, and we subsequently decided to jointly open an agency office in South Africa. When the SEAS service commenced in June 2005, we established Alpha Shipping as a small liner agency. At the same time, we also developed a freight forwarding operation representing several overseas companies. By 2009, we had offices in Durban, Johannesburg and Cape Town, employing 27 staff. However, in the third quarter of 2009, the global debt crisis hit shipping, and within a matter of months, Maruba was forced to suspend almost all their services.

This left Alpha Shipping without its main source of revenue, so we had to rapidly rethink our strategy. We decided to expand the freight forwarding side using our contacts and knowledge from the liner business and as a result were able to keep our staff and our good name. In 2010, we bought out Maruba’s shares and became an independent privately owned company. In the last three years we have gone from being a single liner agency to a diversified group specialising in freight forwarding, NVOCC, leasing containers (we have some 300 owned units on lease) and we have leased in some 200 units for our operations.

Q.
What makes Alpha Shipping stand out from the freight forwarding crowd in South Africa? A.

Our word is our bond. Our clients and partners know that when they ship or do any kind of business with us, we give full transparency and our dealings are always ethical and professional. This mode of thinking is engrained into our staff, and the result is that they take pride and satisfaction in their work, which reflects well on them and Alpha Shipping’s reputation.


Q. On your website, it states that ‘Company policy is to promote education and staff training.’ Why do you feel that this is so important?
A.

Staff training is essential. Yes, it costs money, but it saves in the long run as it reduces errors. Empowering staff with knowledge gives them the confidence to speak to clients, principals, and service providers with assurance and offer the right advice. All our staff members are put through the ‘Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers’ courses. Even those who are not directly involved with shipping, such as accounts clerks, should at least undertake the basic ‘Understanding Shipping’ course. Being a Fellow of the ICS, and Chairman of the South African Branch of ICS, I continually encourage all people in shipping to do these courses. It doesn’t matter if they work for our competitors; we need to educate everyone to a high standard.


Q. What would be the most memorable shipment you and your team have handled?

A.
Memorable shipments can often be for all the wrong reasons. Here is one notable example: When we were informed by the carrier that the vessel carrying several containers of soccer shirts and boots for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa was bypassing Durban due to port congestion and continuing straight to West Africa, we knew a disaster was imminent. The vessel’s agent said it was out of his hands, so we phoned the Line Manager of the shipping line in the Far East in the middle of the night, and told him it would be the worst publicity he would ever receive in his shipping career. We then independently arranged with the port to get an emergency berth, persuaded the shipping line to turn the ship round, which was now well on its way to Lagos, and discharge the containers. Fortunately, the shipping line agreed! The cargo was discharged and the World Cup went ahead on schedule. To this day, we still think the client had little idea of the lengths we went to rescue the situation, but that is all part of shipping and sometimes you just have to do these things.

Q.
Alpha Shipping is one of our newer members, joining us in October 2012. What attracted you to join Conqueror as opposed to other networks?

A.
We are members of other networks and do business with non affiliated freight forwarders, but one day we got fed up with always being the one who nominated the cargo, and getting nothing in return. We decided to join a group which promised more reciprocity and looked professional.
It is clear that CQR Durban runs a tight ship and that any and every shipment is safe in their hands.
We welcome all agents requiring assistance with shipments in South Africa to get in touch with the Alpha Shipping team.