Bulk Maritime Agencies is a small team with more than 3 decades of experience. They have been the eyes and ears of the port of Rotterdam and Amsterdam for 30 years. What do they value most? What does an average day look like? And what will the future bring? Monica Schreuders and Anita Spijkers, Directors Bulk Maritime Agencies (BMA), give us a look into the world of port agencies.
Bulk Maritime Agencies
“As a port agent, we handle everything that needs to be handled to assist either the owner of the ship or the charterer. At BMA, we focus on the shipment of dry and liquid fossil fuels, edible oils and biomass, Monica and Anita explain. “Each team member has its own expertise, which enables us to handle different product categories efficiently and effectively. Together with Stephan and Cheryl, we are a team of four. Besides that, we work intensively with a highly valued network of partners. Due to our focus on quality and our no-nonsense mentality, we have a lot of long-term customers. It is of utmost importance to us to be a flexible partner to our customers”.
Anita continues: “As our customers need to be able to rely on us 24/7, a real go-getter mentality is definitely required in this job. Although it can be hard sometimes, it is what makes the work we do really diverse and challenging. You don’t know what will happen in the next hour.”
The Key Values
Monica explains: “Honesty and transparency above all! We insist on these values, for our team and partners, as well as for our customers. Difficulties we face along the way, we will fix together. Another important BMA key value is quality”. Anita continues: “We believe in the power of quality, and we make sure that our customers see this in everything we do. From providing real time information to helping our customers find a reliable and professional agent in various ports all over the world. It is all about being proactive. That is what makes you valuable for your customers”.
30 Years in business and two women in the maritime industry who have been working together for more than 35 years. That is not something you see every day. Has the business changed over the years? “It is still a real people’s business “, Monica tells. “Due to Covid-19 this past year, we have not been able to visit our customers. We definitely miss that. Normally, we travel regularly to stay in close contact. Trust is crucial in this business. As our customers are located in different countries or even on different continents, we have to be the eyes and ears for them. Luckily, with all the online possibilities, we are still able to stay in contact. It is interesting to see how this situation has evolved during this pandemic.”
"Honesty and transparency above all"
Anita continues: “Looking back at the past 30 years, we have been through a lot of great times. We still remember our 25th anniversary very well. We celebrated this festive event with our loyal customers. It was very special to share this event with them and to see their appreciation for the work we do and the relationships that we have. It was one of the most memorable moments in our careers. That’s what makes it all worthwhile”.
How does the future hold for BMA?
“Based on our history, vision and customer portfolio, we foresee a bright future. However, we do see challenges in the market”. Monica and Anita explain. “The biggest challenge is the coal industry. The coal-fired power stations in the Netherlands and Germany are gradually closing. This is a challenge for the market and therefore also for our customers. You clearly see that the market is shifting and we are ready for it. A trend we have seen for some years is digitization. That has been on our agenda for some time now. It has been quite a change. Certainly, if you realize that we started with a telex. Briefly after that, the computer was introduced. We remember that people could not get used to working with computers. Change can be challenging, but it is also crucial. Stephan, one of our colleagues, makes sure we keep on moving forward and stay on top of these changes. This immediately characterizes us as a team. Sharing. Sharing all the responsibilities, but also all of our successes. Each team member knows all of the processes. Everyone makes their own planning, handles a customer from A to Z. You have to be future-proof and therefore support knowledge. So, no matter which member of our team you are in contact with, we can and will help you”.