Meet our people
Supercargo at Rickmers-Linie
Being a supercargo at Rickmers-Linie in Hamburg, I am working for one of the world's leading specialists in the global sea transportation of break-bulk, project and individual heavy lift cargo. Rickmers-Linie transports cargo such as railway locomotives, transformers, yachts, steel plates, pipes, ingots or forest products, e.g., plywood, but the vessels are also equipped to carry containers.
Supercargoes are part of Rickmers-Linie's Operations Department. This department's work starts as soon as the Sales Department is successful and cargo shipments are booked. First it is time for the Stowage Planners - also Operations Department staff - to create a stowage plan for the carrying multi-purpose vessel. When all the planning is done, the supercargo comes into play. He is the one attending the vessel at every port where cargo is handled. So, about a week before the vessel's arrival, I review the stowage plan and discuss all relevant information with the planner. I give my feedback for further adjustments and get geared up for my work on site. A day before the vessel's arrival it is time for me to be at the port. There I inspect all the cargo that is to be shipped. Has everything arrived? Does the cargo meet its expected specifications regarding size, packing, safety requirements, etc.? Are all necessary documents ready? If not, I contact the planner or line manager - depending on the type of irregularity - to find a solution. I also talk to the terminal employees, stevedores, lashing inspectors, the vessel's captain and crew to discuss all relevant topics, tasks and possible changes - always striving for the highest quality and efficiency of all actions and avoiding extra costs. I issue the program of the vessel's port stay and the estimated time of departure, take pictures and prepare documentation for the port of discharge, exchange information with the office in Hamburg and make sure that sophisticated cargo is handled and lashed exactly as per method statement. When a customer arrives to supervise his cargo, it is also me who is his counterpart. In other words, I am there to be the link and coordinator between all parties involved in loading or discharging a Rickmers-Linie vessel and to make sure that all cargo reaches its destination in the same good condition as loaded.
When all cargo is successfully loaded and/or discharged, I issue a stowage plan that displays the status at departure and a pre-stowage plan for the next port. Then I fly to the next port of region to repeat all actions and handle further cargo there. Only when the vessel sails from its last port covered by the Rickmers-Linie office in Hamburg are the final cargo documents issued and sent to the next Rickmers-Linie Operations Department, so the supercargo there can take over. Back at the office, a review meeting takes place where I meet with all Rickmers Group parties involved in this process to discuss what went well or should be improved.