No matter what their cargo is or how they are transporting it, every logistics customer has unique goals and wants a transportation services partner who can achieve them on time and on budget. If one service provider can’t get the job done, the customer will seek competitive solutions from another one. For a logistics provider, therefore, a strong partner network and comprehensive service portfolio are critical for meeting customer requirements.
In the maritime transport business, shipowners, also known as charterers, play an important role alongside cargo owners and logistics providers. Freight brokers create a link between cargo owners and the owners of available vessels. When the right connection is made, a cargo owner and the charterer make an official agreement called a charter.
The chartering of the vessel takes time, as it involves identifying a shipowner and negotiating suitable rates and conditions for cargo carriage. When all the details are agreed, a charter contract is concluded indicating where the goods are to be loaded onto the vessel and by when they will be delivered to their final destination (the "Leuken"). In this deal-making process, AsstrA serves customers as a freight broker.
A key AsstrA customer recently approached the corporate group’s General Cargo Department in St. Petersburg with a request for a Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) tanker to deliver 10,000 tonnes of chilled anhydrous ammonia from the Port of Teesport in the UK to the Port of Rouen in France.
"The first challenge to overcome for this customer was finding a suitable LPG tanker vessel to carry the liquid ammonia in a refrigerated state. The second was meeting the delivery deadline. We had only five days to find the right vessel," says Oleg Sysolyatin, Head of the General Cargo Division at AsstrA.
While meeting such a tight delivery schedule is not easy, the Department’s team overcame the time pressure and used a database of reliable shipowners to source a suitable vessel meeting all technical requirements. The team used its legal knowledge of chartering contracts to help the client avoid additional transport costs. All details were agreed without involvement from the client, who could thus save time and money arranging the deal. The chartered vessel arrived at the French port on the scheduled date.
"AsstrA acted as a freight broker on this project. The cargo was prepared for loading by 26 November and the vessel needed to be sourced by 30 November. This was the first time the team was tasked with finding and chartering a vessel of this type, i.e. a tanker for transporting liquid cargo at low temperatures. Both the deadline and the requirements related to the cargo’s characteristics were met. This was an interesting project we were eager to be involved in, and we look forward to providing chartering services again,” adds Oleg Sysolyatin.