Hundreds of thousands of euros worth of bank loans, but it was a dream worth fighting for.
This year, as we celebrate our tenth anniversary, we thought it would be a good time to reflect and look back at how we got to this moment.
Ten years ago, when the 2009 financial crisis overturned a shipping company operating in the industry, Johan and I were given a “decent” opportunity to make our dream come true. As our shared dream was to own and operate our cargo ship, we took up the challenge and used financing from the bank to buy our first ship. We were told by many people that it was the worst possible time, and even my own mother warned against becoming an entrepreneur, but we thought the timing couldn’t be better.
In retrospect, we might have just been stupid enough to pledge our own properties, three times over!
Although we both had experience working on ships, we didn’t know what we’d started once we’d turned into entrepreneurs in the industry. The first few years were a muddle, and we lost money due to overcapacity and shortages in freight pushing down prices in the wake of the financial crisis. Despite the timing and our calculations, the vessel ultimately proved unprofitable. After the first year, we had several hundred thousands in bank loans, far more than we’d intended. When all our Excel sheets were showing huge minuses, quitting wasn’t an option.
Instead of thinking about problems, we decided to focus on solving them.
Taking a stern attitude with ourselves, we finally got a hold of the “helm” By 2014, fortunately, our operations were on a good, profitable growth path. We decided to throw everything into play and bought another ship, mv Emilie. Our greatest successes are certainly reflected in the ships we’ve brought into the fleet, since customer relationships and ships have gone hand in hand. At the moment, we have four great ships sailing our seas: MV Nathalie, MV Baltic Amelie, MV Jolie and MV RMS Carelie, with a fifth vessel joining fleet soon. After 2014, we’ve focused more sharply on what works, and we operate based on these facts.
We strive to think outside the box and take really good care of our customers and ships.
We both have experience working onboard, so the heart of our model is to invest in team spirit, knowledge and comfort at work. Johan still enjoys being on board the ships, and we’re very clear that people are our most important resource. Ultimately, though, the delivery of promises to our customers always lies in the hands of our crews.
We’ve learned much during our journey. Our success is primarily based on the performance, customer service spirit and enthusiasm of our crews. We’re also enthusiastic about giving our staff the opportunity to take responsibility and advance their careers. There are only solutions to problems, and as Johan puts it:
Anyone can become a captain or ship owner. All you need is the right attitude and a little vision.
The further we’ve gone, the more we’ve learned about the importance of risk management and transparency. We have a clear vision of what we’re aiming for, and all this is shared by our staff. We push on fearlessly, and who knows how far we can go?
Although we’ve been sailing through a storm, we’ve had great successes and many fun stories to tell.
In retrospect, perhaps we were in the right place at the right time.
Many thanks to our incredible team, customers and co-workers, who have made this journey possible! The story of our growth will continue!
Thanks for reading, and don’t forget to leave a like to support your crew! 😉
Antti & Johan