The creation of Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics ASA was the first step in an exciting transition for our group of companies. WWL and EUKOR will strive to further integrate and align their products and services, and further optimise the operation of our combined fleet of vessels. The Commercial team in WW Ocean will be brought together under five sales areas, all clearly retaining their local footprint.

The new Chief Commercial Officer for Ocean, Simon White, has a history with Wilhelmsen stretching back to 1995, when he joined Trade Management in Wilhelmsen Lines Australia. Here he introduces himself by answering some of the most common customer questions about the organisational changes. 

What is the main driver behind the organisational changes?

The logistics industry has evolved constantly, and will continue to do so.

But right now, we are seeing fundamental changes and megatrends in the RoRo sector, that, as industry leader we must respond to. Customer requirements are changing, whilst margin and cost pressures are increasing, so we must respond with confidence and go in a direction that enables us to serve our customers better.

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What are the megatrends impacting the industry?

Over the last two decades, there has been significant fragmentation away from traditional cargo routes. The diversification of production away from Japan, Europe and USA to the likes of Turkey, Mexico, South Africa, India, Thailand hand Brazil, coupled with the market growth in developing markets has driven expediential growth in routes, port calls and operational complexity.

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We also see current underlying oversupply in the global fleet, which is not something unique to the RoRo industry. There is significant cost pressure from suppliers, port authorities, and labour costs globally. With rates coming under pressure, we simply must find a way to retain a quality service offer at the right price.

What does the new structure mean for our customers? 

Our aim is to strike a balance between harmonising how we work on a global basis, while still accommodating specific local market needs.

We will work smarter, and do everything in our power to ensure we are as efficient and lean as we possibly can be, without lowering quality.

As an example, one of the key changes will be the merging of our customer service and trade operations for our high-volume business. This will improve internal processes, reduce the number of handover points and therefore improving communication and response times to our customers.

How do you respond to a customer with concerns about centralisation?

What there will not be is one global call centre to serve everyone. There will be some necessary consolidation, but this will be done on a regional basis where this makes sense. Take Asia as an example. Here we will retain a strong local presence in Japan, China, South Korea and South East Asia, while improving the way we work together across the region.

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Europe will see more centralisation, whilst retaining customer care in our local markets for our liner business. With a strong behind-the-scenes team working more closely together than ever before, and local sales teams in place in markets around the world, I truly believe we will have a more responsive, agile, and customer-centric structure.

The new organisation will present an improved breakbulk offer. Can you explain how that works?

One of our most mature business areas is in the automotive segment. We have been moving cars around the world for decades and know the customers and their requirements extremely well. We pride ourselves on this automotive pedigree, but we have unique competence and experience in handling breakbulk, cargo that doesn’t roll and can’t be containerised.  Examples being yachts and boats, railcars, power generation equipment, plant machinery, oil and gas equipment.  It is an extensive segment.

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I believe there is enormous opportunity for us to attract breakbulk cargo to RoRo from other modes of ocean transportation.

We have brought together the technical competence, equipment planning expertise and commercial activities into one breakbulk team to support the global organisation. Previously these functions have been scattered around the organisation, so now we have a cohesive breakbulk unit, who are focused solely on providing solutions to our current and prospective customers. 

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Any final words? 

These organisational changes are first and foremost designed to ensure our customers can still access all our competence and expertise, while improving the way we work internally. Our customers expect a quality service with planning precision and proactive communication. We are creating an agile organisation that can deliver precisely that.