Local liaison is first US presence for overseas company
In an effort to build reefer, dry cargo and special projects business in the United States, Rotterdam-based van Weelde Chartering recently launched a new company and office in New Orleans. The firm, van Weelde Chartering USA, LLC, is the first US presence for the Dutch firm, a sister company to Orient Shipping Rotterdam, which manages a fleet of 25 bulk carriers with capacities between 10,000 and 65,000 tons.
‘Our goal is to get a better foothold in the United States for our dry cargo chartering,’ said Robert Frederiks, president of van Weelde Chartering. ‘This office means better service for our Orient Shipping Fleet, as well. And we hope to have a more direct approach to charterers in the United States, both exporters and importers.’
The company’s new office is located at 201 St. Charles Avenue, Suite 2537. The office officially opened July 3 and is run by Covington, LA-native Ben Blanchard, the company’s US chartering and operations manager.
Blanchard worked for the company in Holland for two years and, Frederiks said, suggested the firm base an office in New Orleans to act as a liaison to US customers.
‘We wanted an office that concentrates on dry cargo and project cargo in the Gulf of Mexico region and New Orleans seemed like a natural fit ’ it is the gateway to America and a major US port,’ Frederiks said.
The chartering company is no stranger to New Orleans. It has heavy interests in the poultry industry and has worked with New Orleans Cold Storage, a long-time Port of New Orleans tenant, for better than a decade.
Blanchard said he was pleased to return to the New Orleans region.
‘We’re happy to do something positive for the city,’ Blanchard said. ‘We hope to build business in the port and throughout the Gulf Coast from our office here in New Orleans.’
Gary LaGrange, president and CEO of the Port of New Orleans, said van Weelde Chartering’s decision shows its commitment to the Port and the region.
‘We’re thrilled the firm chose New Orleans to base its overseas operations,’ LaGrange said. ‘We will work closely with van Weelde officials to build business and ensure their success.’