Necessity is the mother of invention

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A note from the CEO

Necessity is the mother of invention

I t wasn't that long ago that it was June 2021, and the market was heating up to extraordinary levels as U.S. consumer demand surged to new heights despite the on-going global pandemic. Business was coming in thick and fast, yet it was clear to our executive leadership team that our contract allocations were not going to cover the unpredicted increase in volumes. Drastic times called for drastic action if we were to help our customers. We needed to act, and fast.

Author: Eric Seamon
It was clear from early on, that we needed to make a change; to create a solution that lay in proverbial unchartered waters for the business. So, despite having no prior experience in the charter arena, we made some bold and difficult choices to enter the space.

In early July, the decision was made to charter two MPV vessels and retrofit them to carry 1600 TEU each. The first of these two vessels, The Maritime Voyager, was to sail in August, closely followed by her sister vessel, The Maritime Sinchai, in October.

Needless to say, the learning curve was steep and fast, with the risk even greater. Someday, we will collate the notes from Dave Boothe, David Wong, Anson Lee, Ricky Chow and myself from the process–it will no doubt make for an interesting read! For me personally, I've never been on a wilder, faster, curvier roller coaster of a ride in my life. They say what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger. Well, someday I may believe that.

Thankfully, The Voyager set sail as planned on August 26th from the Port of Taicang near Suzhou in China, and arrived fully loaded into the port of Savannah on Sept 29th, finally berthing on October 7th. It was speedily discharged within one day thanks to outstanding work by the Stevedore SSA Marine and the Port of Savannah.

A day later, we received an encouraging note from Mr. Gary Morelli, VP at SSA in Savannah praising our sister ship agency team in Shanghai, The Fastic Group. It read: “I would like to extend our appreciation for the excellent job of stowage and securing on The Maritime Voyager. The discharge operation exceeded our expectation, with the actions of the load port in Taicang making our job much easier compared to similar vessels we have handled recently.” Needless to say, a great deal of pride was taken from those comments by both OW Logistics and The Fastic Group. The proof was in: the operation had worked.
Next up was The Maritime Sinchai. This vessel was fully loaded and sailed on November 1st, with a planned ETA in Jacksonville on December 5th. Because the first shipment on the Voyager taught us so many lessons, the surprises were fewer...thank goodness!

Looking back at this summer, we were faced with a necessity to change. If we were to obtain the extra space and equipment needed for our customers, we had to try something that we had never done before. The answer, a completely new endeavor for the business, lay in this process. In retrospect, I believe I speak for our entire team when I say the experience has been exhilarating, educational, frustrating, chaotic, and maddening all at the same time. We have learnt a lot and that knowledge alone has made it worth the effort. The fact that we were also able to clear some backlogs turned a precarious situation into a gift.

If I were to describe my feelings in one word, 'thankful’ most definitely describes the adventure. We are truly thankful for the dedication of our team in Asia (and their families for letting them work around the clock this summer), SSA Marine and Norton Lilly, our sister company The Fastic Group, the container leasing group Seaco Global, Tote Maritime, the Ports of Savannah, Jacksonville and Taicang, and Mike Greco and team at NFI Global. A very special shout out also goes to my dear friend and partner, Mr. Darren Wright, Founder and CEO of Allseas Global Logistics, who was always on hand to guide us through the process whenever we needed it.

Most importantly, we wish to thank our customers that have supported us and had the confidence that we could deliver for them. They provided the ‘necessity’ that led us to our ‘invention’. This five plus month challenge proved to be a grand cooperation and partnership of all these entities and the folks that represent them.

Bless you all.
Eric Seamon
CEO & Co-Founder
OW Logistics

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