At 24 years old, Martijn van der Gijze is one of the youngest operators at Hudig & Veder. Soon he will play his first 'solo' as a man of service. "The fun part? Going out, of course. Even if they just need a USB...
As a child he heard all the enthusiastic stories from his father, in a distant past also operator and later charterer. But Martijn decided, after his training as a port logistics manager at the STC, to follow the path of freight forwarder. In Moerdijk he dived into the world of road transport for four years – "Also very interesting, but always from the office" – to finally choose the other way. For the past five months he has been one of the seven operators of Fairway Shipping Agencies, part of Hudig & Veder, in Rhoon. He regularly climbs on board newly arrived or departing seagoing vessels as if he has been doing nothing else. Have a chat with the captain, go through the paperwork and formalities and see what other action needs to be taken. "We see ourselves as the link between shore and ship," he says. In that capacity, a lot of work has to be done. "And that is very variable, though. Sometimes you are done rather quickly, other times it takes a lot more work. We are not only concerned with the human aspect, we also consult with the terminals, customs and port authorities for the cargo. The bottom line is that you, as operator, are responsible for the people on board. If they need something, you have to take care of it. Even if it is just a USB stick, for which you have to go to the store.
His working area runs roughly from Dordrecht and Moerdijk to the Maasvlakte and includes seagoing vessels, small coasters and large tankers that transport everything and anything. "Coal, soybeans, rapeseed and oil." The crew is often international, which means flights have to be booked for the crew changes and taxis must be arranged upon arrival at the airport. From there, people go via immigration to the vessel, or if it arrives later, first to a hotel nearby. "Sometimes people have to go to the doctor or dentist, that is also something we organize."
He has already gotten used to the hectic pace that comes with the job, says Martijn. "Managing a few vessels at the same time took some getting used to in the beginning." Of course, his job requires the necessary (online) paperwork, but he is really in his element when he goes on board. If there is no gangway to get on board, it has to be done by boat and climbing the ladder. "Especially when a ship is empty, it can be a lot of meters. Fortunately, I am not afraid of heights. "Soon he will be working his first shift as the man on duty." From three o'clock in the afternoon, till the next morning. If a ship arrives or wants to leave at night, then it means business. "That gives some hectic times at those hours. In principle, we are always on board within an hour. During the day you have the support of your colleagues, but as the man of service you are the person responsible. A new adventure."