Bigger, better, and ready for the challenge

Wallenius Wilhelmsen ASA CEO Craig Jasienski talks about current market conditions for the company and its customers, the latest developments with the new group, and the prospects for the future.

Craig Jasienski

The creation of the Wallenius Wilhelmsen group last year brought together the jointly owned shipping activities and relevant assets of Wilh. Wilhelmsen ASA and Wallenius Lines, creating a market leader in RoRo shipping and vehicle logistics, serving manufacturers of cars, trucks, heavy equipment and machinery across the world. The group incorporates Wallenius Wilhelmsen Ocean and Solutions, EUKOR and ARC.

Catch up with CEO Craig Jasienski to hear the latest news from this 157-year old start up.

What are the biggest market challenges for the Wallenius Wilhelmsen group?

Geopolitical events around the world such as Brexit and changes to established trade agreements continue to surprise us, and we take the view that this will continue to happen. Such events create uncertainty among our customers and that of course impacts our strategies.

The industry is still suffering from a period of overcapacity, which has created a degree of price pressure in the marketplace. While that’s been the case for many years now, we expect supply and demand to be more balanced in the next 2-3 years.

What are the biggest challenges facing your customers?

The electrification of vehicles is driving a lot of change among our major automotive customers, as is the trend that we are moving from a society of car owners to a society of car users. These changes will likely impact the way cars are sold and maintained, which also will change the supply chain needs. As established platforms are replaced with new battery technology, production is simplified and OEM’s will be able to shift sourcing and production based on demand, currency fluctuations or import duties much quicker than today.

Across all the industries that we serve, our customers operate in highly competitive markets and have to compete on both quality and price. We intend to respond to that constant need from our customers to drive down costs and increase efficiencies.

What is the rationale behind the creation of one company?

To meet these changes and demands, a more speedy, agile organisation is required. Decision-making was good when we were five different entities, but we knew we could be much faster and more agile by creating one management group.

The creation of the Wallenius Wilhelmsen group has generated synergies and opportunities to take cost out of the business. Most importantly, we’ve created an organisation that is very well aligned with our customers and their needs.

Why the division of WWL into WW Ocean and WW Solutions?

At an operational level our land and sea businesses are very different. Our ocean shipping business is truly global, whereas the land-based business is very localised. To truly be experts in our field we believe we need to be on the ground where we execute our services. From a management perspective, these two business areas have very different needs.

That said, although the execution of services is local we work on global process improvement to ensure customers experience the same high level of service wherever in the world they do business with us.

Why are you changing your visual identity?

This isn’t simply about a new logo. Over the last year, we have worked hard on our internal processes to better align ourselves with our customers. We are a new company, working in new ways and thinking in new ways, and it’s important to us that our customers can see that difference. We see a lot of changes coming for our customers, which will re-define their logistics needs. Our role is to be their partner in defining logistics for a world in motion.

What does the future hold for the Wallenius Wilhelmsen group?

WW Ocean is in a strong position with the world’s largest fleet size, best range of vessels and an established, global network. We are a market-leader in automotive and will keep demonstrating that we are a great choice for shipping high, heavy and breakbulk cargo.

There are huge growth opportunities in terms of the outbound supply chain for WW Solutions. In North America, our automotive and equipment processing capacity is strong, and we will look to use that as a model. The 2017 acquisition of the equipment processor Keen indicates our ambitions.

Fast facts

The new company

The Wallenius Wilhelmsen group is a global logistics company, serving the manufacturing industry with special focus on vehicles, machinery, rail and the energy sector. It owns and operates around 130 vessels servicing 32 trade routes to six continents, and operates a global inland distribution network, 77 technical service and processing centres, and 13 marine terminals.

In a proactive move to build for the future, the Wallenius Wilhelmsen group restructured in April 2017, creating an efficient and agile ownership and governance structure to enable operational synergies and as well as expansion into new areas of the logistics industry.

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