Javier Delgado Sauermann is CEO of Canarship. For 30 years he has held various positions of responsibility in the maritime sector. His vocation comes from his family, linked to the shipping business since 1924.
– We would like you to explain to us what your career as a shipping agent has been. Where does that connection come from? How did he start?
In my case, it runs in the family. My grandfather arrived in the Canary Islands as a German consul in 1924 and in addition to the German consulate, he established a shipping agency to deal with German-flagged ships. This consignee was passed on to my uncle, Walther Sauermann, and it was there that I began my career in the 1990s.
Later I had the opportunity to join the Romeu Group as a ship visitor and line salesman. At that time, I went through all the different aspects; from the commercial aspect of it to customs, operational, etc. That happened within a consignee world that was totally different since the mobile phone was hardly used and the internet was beginning to be implemented. A time when communications with ships were made through Telex and Broadcast.
And until nowadays where everything has completely changed and without R&D you are nobody.
– In your experience, what is the evolution and current situation of the shipping agency industry in the Canary Islands?
I think it is a booming sector since shipping companies continue to open despite the fact that it is increasingly common for large shipping companies to establish themselves in ports, leaving aside the consignee.
Due to this number of emerging shipping agents, the trend has been a general drop in rates, which is why the shipping agency industry is leading to a low cost market where the only beneficiary is the shipowner. As a consequence, the consignee must lower the quality of the service in order to compete.
– We understand that these recent war events have negatively affected the business. What is the real impact?
Since the pandemic we have had a few years of constant changes where freight rates have skyrocketed and there is a tremendous lack of space on ships.
Also due to the war there is a general rise in fuel prices which harms the business and the entire supply chain.
– – What type of vessel traffic does Canarship usually handle?
Canarship in the Canary Islands is specialized in the Oil & Gas sector. They are the vessels that are dedicated to searching for oil and drilling offshore such as oil platforms, support vessels and seismic vessels. In addition, we also serve general cargo ships and containers.
– Could you explain the main differences that exist between a shipping agent and an independent agent?
The consignee that works for a shipping company focuses its business in providing exclusive service to said shipping company and bases its business on the guidelines that the shipping company sends. Within our Group of companies, we have the GREEN IBERICA shipping agent that works solely and exclusively for the Evergreen Shipping Company.
– Are the Canarian ports competitive? What areas shall we all need to work on to improve?
We have to work on the stevedoring sector since we are not sufficiently competitive in prices with respect to the ports in West Africa. The service sector in certain ports must be improved. Also, political interests should come to agreements in order to place interest in the evolution of the maritime business at the top of the pyramid.
– And shipping agencies? What should they improve on?
I think we have a responsibility to position our services in higher value markets and let our work shine. Respect and commitment to the profession should be restored.
– We are just 3 years away from where Asocelpa turns 100, in what areas do you think the association should provide better service and help to its associates?
[Asocelpa] is invaluable in the liaison with the official organisms of the Port, in their consultancy services and helping the associates with the paperwork. It also brings together consignees and stevedoring companies, contributing to the recognition of our profession.
– What are the prospects for this year 2022?
I believe that even more complex times are ahead. The outlook is going to get complicated due to the current post-pandemic situation, war, high prices and I foresee new maritime alliances and many changes in the sector.