For about 2,5 years ago Meriaura was approached by a client, asking us if we could take care of the Agency in port of Hamina for a big International project. After giving it some thought we started the process, and with a very tight schedule completed the negotiations, made an agreement and off I was! I had never been to Hamina before in my whole life, and I sure did not know exactly what I was letting myself in for. But now, looking back, I can tell you it was all worth it!

Coming from Turku (where our main office is) to another city and another port, I was nervous about how I would be greeted there by local companies. I did not have any network available on arrival and all I could do was to approach people, ask a lot of questions and mingle myself through to establish good and reliable contacts. To my surprise, it was not a hard task and I was welcomed with such warmth by all local companies and people working there!

Everyone helped me a lot and gave me good advice and it didn’t take long until I felt like I had already been in Hamina for a long time. The port of Hamina has throughout the project supported me tremendously, not to mention all other local authorities and service providers, such as Finnpilot, Alfons Håkans, the local Customs office and Hamiko Hacklin, to mention a few.

Being part of a big International shipping project is always challenging, since there are so many actors and companies from different countries involved. Not only is the organizational and cultural mix a lot to take in, but also the complexity of the planning of the project itself and all the operational work that comes along with it. Being an agent is pretty much being a spider in the web – collecting information, solving problems and being the middle hand between vessel owners, crew, customers and other parties involved. And always with a huge time pressure, of course! It was not always a walk in the park but in the end the project was completed successfully and now I can close the Hamina chapter with a smile on my face.

Throughout the last 2,5 years I have gained a lot of professional experience and have also made a lot of new friends that I am sure will last for life. Being part of a project is a bit like being part of a big family and I can honestly say that I will remember this time of my life with pride and happiness. I also want to thank my colleague Aleksei Kumpulainen, who was by my side during the whole project and all the other colleagues that I was privileged to work with at the NTSB office.

Thank you and goodbye Hamina!

Maria Byskata
Head of Agency