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Shipping never stops: an interview with our colleague Ruud Hak

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Ruud Hak is a senior employee at Vertraco. He works at the marketing & sales department, where he is responsible for communicating and working out shipping fares and booking shipments. Bookings are done by email and together with the client he arranges a suitable fare. This might sound simple, yet a lot is involved in the process. Especially since Vertraco ships nearly every type of cargo. “Vertraco offers a wide range of options for shipping cargo – you don’t see that often anymore in the shipping industry,” says Ruud.

One of the challenges that he faces concerns the draught of ships on the Suriname river. The river urgently needs to be dredged. “Ships that currently sail to Paramaribo can only access the river if they have a limited draught, otherwise they run aground.” Ruud has to ensure that the weight of the cargo that he books is in accordance with the maximum draught of the ship. The latter varies every time, as the ship and the water level are different. “Even though it is against our nature, we therefore sometimes have to say no to a cargo shipment.” But each time he does manage to take everything along it feels like a small victory. 

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“Vertraco offers a wide range of options for shipping cargo – you don’t see that often anymore in the shipping industry,”

Another part of Ruud’s work is contact with customers. In the past bookings usually came in by phone, in the past few years this has shifted to email. “What is also really taking off, especially in Suriname, are bookings through WhatsApp.” Sometimes customers in Suriname face power outages, so many do business by phone. Besides, many people there also do business in the weekend. In combination with the time difference, this causes Ruud’s work to continue day and night. “This of course also just characterizes shipping – it is 24/7, it never stops.” It also shows Vertraco’s strength, he says, as customers always get a very quick reply.

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