Jonas got inspired to pursue his career in shipping, while serving for the Royal Danish Army under the Danish contribution to NATO’s peace keeping mission in Kosovo. He recalls: “I learned a lot about myself in Kosovo. The most important thing I learned is to open your eyes to the world. I came from a very secure and comparatively unhindered childhood and youth in Denmark to a conflict-stricken and dysfunctional country. Seeing the world for what it is, gives a perspective that is hard learned through books. When you live it, your barriers are down and that is why I decided to pursue an international career. And what is more international then Shipping?”
He took his first position as operations, later agency manager, with OBT Shipping in Africa and soon realized that business in Sub-Saharan Africa brings its own set of challenges including running projects to schedule and maintaining efficiency in port calls. Risk-managing logistics becomes an unavoidable skill.
“You may only predict that it is unpredictable. Port calls are subject to unreliable berthing schedules, with load and discharge speeds being inconsistent at best. In West Africa, the rainy season can put a stopper to port operations for days, and the berthing line-up is often up for auction with the agents pushing for berthing priority.”
Moreover, the infrastructure in landlocked areas in Africa is often poor or non-existent, which makes solving logistics much more complicated than in the costal zones. While trucking and rail equipment is often missing, bridges and powerlines are out-dated so that moving out-of-gauge cargo is mostly impossible.