When the global team of DB SCHENKERmarineparts is called, it is about supplying ships of all sizes: the luxury yacht of the millionaire, the ocean liner packed with thousands of containers as well as the top-class cruise ship.
At first only spare parts, now “everything”
Originally the product was customized to the needs of shipbuilders and operators and, therefore, specialized on spare parts logistics for ships. DB SCHENKERmarineparts keeps up the supply chains of the shipping companies. All modes of transport are integrated in the concepts. When it comes to spare parts, sprinter qualities are required. Because a ship, which cannot proceed, does not make any money and is rather expensive.
Four years ago, the supply of cruise ships with goods of every kind was added: from the catering equipment to the delivery service for different kinds of shops, which give the travelers the feeling of city life at sea. For brand manufacturers, DB Schenker consolidates the goods and supplies them when the ships are anchored in the harbor. That requires a particularly good timing. Unlike mainland shops, floating businesses are quickly gone. If you miss the delivery date, there is no “tomorrow”, but a “somewhere else” – and that can be very far away.
From the soap dish to the mattress
The equipment of cruise ships is not limited to consumer goods. Also furniture, bathroom equipment and event technology comes on board. And if the beds need fresh mattresses, the ship not only has to pick up the new ones, but also dispose of the old ones. All of this is done by DB SCHENKERmarineparts.
Stories like the ones told by “Käpt’n Blaubär” – a German cartoon character
Employees master the entire spectrum: meticulously coordinated supply chains, order management via an online platform, and tracking of consignments for customers. At the same time, the document handling with appropriate customs processes and everything involved takes place. Logistics at the highest level.
Silvia G. Belina, Director DB SCHENKERmarineparts
“First and foremost, we do precise logistics. And sometimes it gets adventurous.”
Everything everyday. Everything “okay”. But when you approach Silvia G. Belina, Director DB SCHENKERmarineparts, at the right moment, she tells incredible stories. And you think: Really? That’s what you experience at DB Schenker?
Like the story of the generator. A shipping company had left it without formalities “for a few days” in the port of Santo Domingo. But the box with the dimensions of a 20-foot container fell into oblivion and disappeared from the harbor area. “When the shipping company, our customer, remembered their unit, I looked for it like a detective and found it at a shipyard,” recalls Belina. Then the question: How do you handle the export of something that is not officially imported? Tough negotiations with the port administration, embassy, police and other authorities were necessary. Finally there was a happy end.
Champagne from the air
Less complicated, but quite exciting was a champagne delivery at sea. A yacht owner had run out of sparkling wine on a glamorous tour. Since the ship was far away from the coast, DB SCHENKERmarineparts served the champagne by helicopter: noble bubbly, lowered from a lofty height. There the last mile becomes the last nautical mile.
Then there was the project with the lifeboats. A container ship needed new ones, because the old ones had been expired. The replacement was traveling by sea from Europe to Brazil: 5 pieces, each weighing 800 kilograms. When the authorities put the container ship on the chain and prevented it from leaving, the new lifeboats were still at sea. “In such cases, we have to rethink and launch an alternative shipment by air freight,” says Belina. “Customs clearance in Brazil, timely delivery to the ship, acceptance and return of the out of date ones: “All this we have to coordinate and plan in advance or just overnight. That’s sometimes exciting, but that is also the most interesting thing about our job. “
Trade fair in Hamburg from the 4th to the 7th of September
But such stories are exceptions. The daily business is standardized, often hectic, but all in all unspectacular. In order to fine-tune supply chains and processes, Belina is literally on the move worldwide, implementing individually customized processes with her team. DB SCHENKERmarineparts is a member of the Maritime Cluster Northern Germany and the Association of German Ship Suppliers. They don’t accept everyone.
If you would like to meet Silvia G. Belina and her team personally, DB Schenker will be represented at the SMM with its own booth (Hall B6 / Booth No.105) – this is the world’s leading maritime trade fair from the 4th to the 7th of September 2018 in Hamburg.