December 2017 - Preparing for the winter
Meriaura staff curling

Towards lighter times

Within a week we will reach the turning point, when the daylight time slowly starts to increase again, which usually has a positive impact on the mindset of most people here up in the north. Throughout the year we have seen several light spots in the business environment, and when summing up, one could say that the light at the end of the tunnel has been growing stronger over the course of the year. In other words, we can finally indulge us to be optimistic when looking towards the future.

Although the autumn has been a challenging one weather-wise, the number of performed voyages, as well as the total amount of cargo transported, are clearly above the figures compared to the year before. This is first and foremost due to the increased volumes of our long-term contract partners, which of course makes us happy after several years of zero, or even negative growth. Even the firm spot market is indicating increased industrial activity. We are also pleased to have several new contract customers on board, and will do our utmost best to fulfill the expectations of both old and new collaborators.

The first full year of our special sister vessels Meri and Aura trading side by side in the spot market is coming to its end, and the overall performance level can be described as a pleasant surprise. Feedback from our European heavy industry customers and other collaborators has been encouraging, and has strengthened our vision that next year will be at least as good, if not even better than these ongoing 12 month experienced so far. Year 2017 has also offered different learning curves to our project team, including new interesting business concepts, such as providing substitute vessel for marine research purposes, and being part of an offshore-based construction project in the Baltic waters.

We have adjusted our fleet to match our contracts, and of course at the same time keeping in mind that sooner or later, winter is coming. Our experienced crew is looking forward to a busy but interesting new year, which we believe, will be brighter than the past.

On behalf of the whole Meriaura crew, I wish you a peaceful Christmas holiday and a successful new year 2018!

Beppe Rosin

Curling

VG-Shipping and Gaiamare merger

The ship owning companies in Meriaura Group, VG-Shipping Oy and Oy Gaiamare Ab, are merging January 1st 2018. The merger decision was made in order to improve efficiency, simplify corporate structure and respond to the tightening market conditions. The business will continue unchanged and the merger will have no impact on customers, cooperators or employees. Technically, the receiving company is Gaiamare, whose VAT no. remains, but the company changes its name to VG-Shipping Oy. Through the merger the “new” VG-Shipping becomes a major shipping company in Finland. As the year changes, VG-Shipping owns and manages m/v Meri, Aura, Eeva VG, Mirva VG, Martta VG and Polaris VG. VG-Shipping is the parent company of Meriaura, Elisa Mikkolainen being the Managing Director of both companies. Besides shipowning, VG-Shipping provides ship management and crewing services for other shipowners, such as Meritaito, SYKE and Wasa Dredging.

Anticipating the merger, VG-Shipping’s bio oil business was transferred into a separate company, VG EcoFuel Oy, already in November 2017.

From January 2018 onwards Jussi Mälkiä will step aside from daily routines in shipping. He will remain Chairman of the Board for Meriaura Group and concentrate on leading and developing the group’s companies in bio and circular economy.

Meriaura fleet 2018

Our dry-bulk fleet 2018


DWCC
CBFT
Eeva VG (EcoCoaster)
4700 216000
Mirva VG (EcoCoaster)
4700 216000
Flex Keston
4600
216000
Antonia 4500 201400
Forest
4350
211000
Skagenbank
4350
211000
Steenbank
4350
211000
Martta VG 3900 198800
Adele
3100
160000
Carina
3100
160000
Swe-Bulk
3100
164000
Baltic Sailor
2950
151000
Nikar G
2950
167400
Barbarossa
2900
167400
Stortebeker
2900
167400

Rinaland

2550
130665

Special purpose vessels



Polaris VG
6350
396000
Meri
4800
--
Aura
4800
--
Team Rynkeby Meriaura sponsor

Meriaura sponsors Team Rynkeby Turku in 2018

Meriaura Group has donated the yearly 'Christmas charity funds' to Team Rynkeby Turku team. Team Rynkeby – God Morgon is a Nordic charity cycling team that cycles every summer to Paris to raise money for seriously ill children. The tradition started in 2002 by 11 amateurs.  Today's Team Rynkeby comprises 1,900 cyclists and 450 volunteers, divided into 48 local teams in Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Norway, the Faroe Islands and Iceland.

Rynkeby Foods A/S and God Morgon cover all the project's primary costs, which means that the money Team Rynkeby raises in each country is donated directly to local organisations that help children with critical illnesses. In 2017 Team Rynkeby donated  8.8 million euros to organizations that help children with critical illenesses, such as cancer.

For almost a whole year participants must not only prepare themselves for the 1,200 kilometre trip to Paris but they are also obliged to do what they can to raise money for children with cancer. Read more
Kristel-Kusters-Meriaura-chartering-manager

Introducing our staff: Chartering Manager Kristel Kusters, 34

When did you move to Finland?

I first moved to Finland in autumn 2005 as an exchange student.  Although it took me some time to adjust, I slowly fell in love with the country and at the end also with a Finnish man. After the exchange, I moved back to Belgium for a year, but the going back and forth became harder every time. Finally I took the decision to leave it “all” behind and move to Finland. In my first years I went to language courses in order to learn the logical, but incredibly difficult language. This process is still going on.

When did you start in Meriaura?

In March 2008 I got a great opportunity to start in my own field as a trainee in Meriaura. One of my first positions was at the Agency Department, which was a good place to learn the job. Later on, I continued at the Operation Department for about 8 years. Since September this year I started on my latest challenge: Chartering.

What do you like the most in your work?

The versatility of tasks is what I like the most. There are new challenges every day, which means I have to give my best each day.

What you don’t like?

The downside of the job is, that some problems, no matter how hard you try, cannot be solved.

What is the biggest difference between chartering and operations?

The two Departments work hand in hand. The biggest difference is that as a Charterer you have to look at the threats and opportunities of the whole fleet in a long term. An operator, on the other hand,  has to handle the everyday operative side smoothly, which has its own challenges.

Tell something about your family

I have been married for 7 years and we have 2 small, lovely children. Our daughter, Lisa, is 2 (almost 3) and our son, Elias, is 6 years old. A small pug completes the family.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I like to play with the kids, walk with the dog, and enjoy the small things in life.

What do you miss about Belgium?

I miss the Belgian food (especially the chocolate), friendliness and the Flemish language.

Meriaura Group
Linnankatu 88, 20100 Turku, Finland
tel. +358 2 2111 600
www.meriaura.fi