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Looking back on 2013 20-12-2013

Dear reader,

Standing at the end of this year, we can look back on five years of crisis circumstances world wide and also in the shipping industry. The last five years were full of challenges for our organisation and we constantly tried to build a stronger foundation to survive. Something we could not have accomplished without the trust of our mother company, the involved trade banks, our suppliers, investors, colleagues and other external parties. As director of Feederlines I am very thankful for the trust shown in our company.

In this year the overall situation in the shipping industry did not change notably and for the upcoming year we will not expect a significant improvement. There will be – according to the world trade – a growth of 4,9% next year and hopefully this growth will continue/increase in the upcoming years.

During the fall of Lehmann brothers, the shipping market was still booming and new building of vessels took place in large numbers. Unfortunately, shortly after the fall of Lehmann brothers things changed and the shipping market collapsed. At that point nobody expected that these crisis circumstances would last for such a long period. In the last years, some small recoveries of the freight prices gave us hope for better times to come. But after five years of crisis circumstances, the freight prices are still not back on track due to the imbalance of the amount of freight and vessels. The expected economical growth in the EU will be intime for some shipping companies, but for some companies it will be too late.     

During the global financial crisis – in the spring of 2010 – I became the Managing Director of Feederlines. A fascinating time to determine the course of this beautiful shipping company. In my opinion it is and will be the most important aspect: to make sure that the people in and around the organisation will have and maintain their trust in our company. Openness in our way of communication about the crisis situation is and will be the most important lead for me. The experience in the last few years learnt me how important this is. Loyal suppliers – with whom we work together for many years – recognize this and are still satisfied about the cooperation and our communication. 

Unfortunately, I had to make some difficult decisions to secure the continuity of our company. For example; the lay up of some vessels from our fleet, the sale of vessels during bad market situations and the bankruptcy of two vessels. These decisions were necessary to secure our fleet.    

In my eyes, optimism and positive thinking are the characteristics that are elementary to survive five years of crisis. You have to be realistic in these times, but every day I realise that I am privileged that I work together with a big group of enthusiastic and hardworking colleagues. Every day we do our up most to ensure the quality of our vessels and our service and try to get the company – where possible - to a higher level. For example; we are very proud to pronounce that in the year 2013 no accidents took place on board of our vessels.
Thank you for your trust in our company during these critical times and I wish you and your family – together with the whole Feederlines’ staff - a merry Christmas and a prosperous 2014!

Jan van der Laan
Managing Director, Feederlines BV