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Interview Mark Speldenbrink – Projects to remember

Mark Speldenbrink, is part of Hartel for 22 years now. Mark works as a senior shipbroker and is responsible for the shipping routes of the Hartel fleet. His primary job is to find the right cargo and to help Hartel’s valued customers. What does an average day look like for him? What will the future bring for Hartel and the entire market?

“It is the passion what makes the difference in my job. Although the business is result-driven, the personal relations are what matters. It also is a business of traditions. After all these years, we still use the ship bell if we have a new booking or customer. I like those traditions”, explains Mark. On an average day, I am responsible for route calculations and communication with our customers and captains. Each project has its own story. That is what makes this job so interesting.” Hartel is part of a customer’s supply chain in which a product is shipped from A to B. Behind the scenes, many professionals and organizations are working together to make that happen.

Mornings on the terminal with a view on our ships.
That is one of the most beautiful moments for me



Projects to remember
Over the years there have been a lot of interesting projects. Mark tells:“ One that stands out is a project with Connexxion in 2008. That contract was drawn up on a beer coaster. Those were times! It concerned sea transport of hydrofoils type Voskhod from Ukraine to the Netherlands. Many years later the customer came back for transport of  hydrofoils from Turkey to Belgium. This clearly indicates the great appreciation and trust customers have for Hartel”.

Another project that was memorable was the transport of a helicopter deck to the UK. Mark explains: “The deck had a diameter of 25 meters. Not something you just pick up and transport. A project like that starts with a visit to the loading location to see the cargo and receive the correct instructions. Such a project only works if you collaborate with trustworthy parties. The parties involved must be all in. You will have to calculate and consider all unexpected situations and circumstances”.

And last but not least, last August Hartel was involved in the transport of ship masts from Australia to the Netherlands. The masts were for the largest yacht in the world.  Hartel was responsible for the last part of the journey, from Spain tot Alblasserdam. The correct preparations took weeks of planning. “Have you heard the sound of a ship bell recently? It rang loudly for this project!”

Trends in the market
The current market is at an all-time high, the volumes are increasing, but so is the competition”, Mark continues: “When Hartel started, we were the first shipping company that sailed to the Black Sea. As a result of supply and demand, this has changed. One of the challenges of the future will be to stay ahead of the competition. For our fleet, we are looking into the possibilities to make it more sustainable. With the energy transition happening, we are always looking for eco-friendly solutions”.

Future of Hartel
Hartel Shipping & Chartering is big in doing small things. “I remember every ship christening from 2011 to 2013. Every ship had its own christening, and I did not miss one. I am certain that these were not the only ship christenings I will attend, and many more will follow in the future”, Mark says. Hartel will have to guarantee craftsmanship, quality and improvement of the fleet to be ready for a turbulent and dynamic future. A future in which weather conditions will play a bigger role and the market will have higher demands. Next to the market changes, we hope to find some new, motivated colleagues. It is a special job in a special market. And that calls for special people whom are passionate about the business.