It‘s a long way to the "States"
It‘s a long way to the "States". About 10,000 km – or a good 6,200 miles – from Hamm, North Rhine-Westphalia, to the Port of Houston, Texas. Let‘s accompany an HFI-welded steel pipe on its very varied journey there.
At Mannesmann Line Pipe, the lead time from order placement through production to the shipment of an HFI-welded steel pipe is several weeks. The sales, purchasing, logistics and control departments are involved in the logistics process right from the start. Immediately after the order, the arrival date of our pipe in Houston, Texas, was notified to the International Shipping and Chartering Office (ISB) based in Bremen. ISB is Mannesmann Line Pipe‘s long-standing logistics partner for shipping goods to the USA.
"Online dispatch" by rail
After our HFI-welded steel pipe has passed the quality test, it is loaded "online", i.e. directly from production, onto a special Deutsche Bahn wagon. Mannesmann Line Pipe has 90 of these in constant rotation for the Siegen and Hamm plants. Three times a week, a group of wagons or an entire train leaves the works with overseas deliveries.
Our pipe leaves Hamm some time during the evening. Between Oldenburg and Bremen, the freight train changes to the tracks of Bremen‘s port railway. Right in the morning, the pipes are unloaded and stacked by employees of the port operator. ISB had registered the goods in good time and arranged for the required intermediate storage areas to be kept free.
A ship is bound to come
Ours arrives at the port of Bremen at the end of January 2019. The loading space for our cargo was booked early by ISB. Now the port employees are loading all the goods destined to be shipped to the USA. This is done strictly in accordance with the stowage and handling procedures to ensure on-board safety and prevent cargo damage. Our HFI-welded steel pipe and all others in this delivery are stowed in the subspace so that they are optimally secured against slipping and damage on the high seas.
All according to schedule
The shipping companies commissioned by ISB offer their customers two to four departure dates per month from Bremen to Houston. Strictly according to schedule, which is however updated or supplemented on a weekly basis. A challenge for all involved. Because transports, departure dates and travel time are subject to a certain temporal variance, which under unfavorable conditions can sometimes collide with the notified departure or delivery date. As a rule, dispatch to Houston takes about three weeks, depending on the weather or planned stopovers along the route.
As exporters with AEO status, the ports of Bremen and Brake are export ports recognized by customs. This facilitates exports for Mannesmann Line Pipe. The customs declaration must be made up to 48 hours before the ship arrives. However, Mannesmann Line Pipe can report any residual quantities up to 24 hours before loading.
A Master Reference Number (MRN) is created for each order and transmitted to ISB. ISB, in turn, obtains customs clearance via access to the central information system of the port industry in Bremen and Bremerhaven and releases the goods for loading onto the ship. Based on the shipping and customs information, ISB prepares the accompanying documents, e.g. the bill of lading, and transmits the data to the shipping company.
Everything under control - thanks to AIS
Employees of Salzgitter Mannesmann International USA are on site in Houston for almost every pipe delivery from Mannesmann Line Pipe and inspect the goods for quality and completeness. AIS tracking, which enables the exchange of navigation and other ship data via radio system, allows the delivery to be tracked and precisely scheduled. Now it is loaded directly onto trucks and distributed. In the case of large deliveries, this requires enormous logistical fine-tuning with the ship‘s crew, port staff, local forwarding agents and truck drivers.
On 18.02.2019 the time has come: after a night on the train, intermediate storage in the port of Bremen and just under three weeks on the high seas, our pipe arrives safely and in perfect condition in Houston, some 10,000 km away from Hamm. All papers have been duly stamped, acknowledged and handed over. Another Mannesmann pipe "Made in Germany", which has made the long journey to the "States" and is now waiting for its intended application.
Three questions to Stefan Döring, Managing Director of Internationales Schiffahrts- und Befrachtungskontor GmbH (ISB), Bremen
Conventional shipping still means a lot of manual work. The experience of the employees involved is invaluable.Stefan Döring, ISB
ISB is the logistics partner for Mannesmann Line Pipe for the reliable transport of goods by ship to the USA.
Mr. Döring, what services does ISB provide to Mannesmann Line Pipe?
On the one hand we organize the handling involved at the port of Bremen, on the other we are the link to the shipping company: from the registration of the goods to be expected, through interim storage and then loading onto the ship. We clarify the basic shipping options and book freight spaces from very small to project quantities. In addition, we obtain customs clearances, handle all documentation and ensure that all deadlines are met.
How does the cooperation work?
The operative activities regarding interim storage in the ports and overseas shipping require close daily coordination between our staff teams and the Purchasing and Logistics department at Mannesmann Line Pipe. The mutually transparent flow of information is the basis for a long-standing successful partnership.
How has your industry changed in recent years?
The arrival of IT is, of course, unstoppable and processes are becoming ever faster. However, conventional shipping still means a lot of manual work. Therefore, direct communication from person to person and experience of the employees involved are invaluable.
Many thanks for the interview!