Today, May 1st, 2023, marks the 10-year anniversary of the Ultrabulk Parcel service. We are very proud of our service focused on offering specialised cargo transportation solutions to our customers and of the teams’ accomplishments throughout the past decade. To mark the anniversary, we would like to give you the opportunity to get to know the service and the team through an interview with the woman who headed the team since its beginning, Saskia Hochstein, Head of Parcelling.
The Parcel Service is a part of the Ultrabulk Specialised Services. It is a niche service offering flexible and specialised cargo transportation solutions to a broad range of customers. The Parcel Service is dedicated to providing transport solutions that are tailormade to each client, based on flexibility, reliability and experience. Saskia describes the service as an “extended service that is close to the clients. We follow the client more closely along with their demands. We are flexible on size of the shipments and can take in other special requirements. So, we offer very specialised cargo transportation that fits with the clients’ needs and demands.”
The Parcel Service offers at present three routes. The Baltic/Continent route is a dedicated service from the fixed ports of Brake, Riga and Antwerp with fixed sailing dates to USEC and USG and the Great Lakes. The main commodity is lumber combined with steel, fertilizers, grain parcels and/or general cargo. This is a Liner Service that functions like a bus shuttle you would know from your everyday life. The other route is the Mediterranean. Here, the Parcel Service has no dedicated fixed ports, but instead it follows the cargo origins and customers, though mainly working out of the East Mediterranean and Turkish ports. To translate this into your everyday life, it would be like a taxi service.
From a one-woman show to exceptional teamwork
In the centre of the Parcel Service is Saskia Hochstein. Not only is she Head of Parcelling, but she was also the woman that started the entire service for Ultrabulk. Saskia comes from a family in shipping, though growing up, she did not think she would end up in shipping, but she was, as she puts it, “side-tracked to the industry” and luckily, she stayed. She used to run the family’s shipping company with her father in Germany but moved to Denmark for her husband along with their children. In Denmark, her focus was not on career, but she was known in the industry. “In my former company we had a service similar to the Parcel service. When I moved to Denmark Ultrabulk approached me and asked if I could start something similar in Ultrabulk. So, when I started here, I could use the clients from the family company which has closed, and I could use my existing network.”
Every year since the beginning of the Parcel Service, the department and team have expanded. Today, the service is represented by a strong team of currently 5 chartering executives, 1 trainee and 5 operators – and later this week, the team will count yet another chartering executive. The team is, in Saskia’s words, strong due to their positive energy. “We like each other and support each other, and we bounce ideas back and forth instead of working as competitors. As I see it, we function like an organism, and we push forward in the same direction.” And the teamwork is also the accomplishment which Saskia is the most proud of, alongside their long–term clients whom they have worked with for many years – some through the entire last decade. “And they are still supporting us because they appreciate the service. Both things [the team and the clients] are something very special to be proud of,” says Saskia.
The team is not the only thing that has expanded in the Parcel Service department. Also, the business they drive has been on quite a growth journey through the decade – they have experienced a more or less exponential growth each year since the beginning.
A small step for the environment
Through the last decade the industry has gotten more focussed on the environment and the impact that the industry has on it. For the time being it does not have a direct impact on the day-to-day work that the Parcel Team does, but as sustainability is high on the agenda at Ultrabulk, it is still in the minds of every team member. This led to Saskia waking up one morning, thinking of the climate and giving back to the Earth, and so the Parcel Team ended up joining the Plant My Tree project as a Climate Protection Partner. The Plant My Tree Project focuses on reforestation and has a direct link to the team’s lumber business. Saskia explains about the project: “Knowing it does not have a huge effect here and now, it is still a small step that will help the environment at some point in the future. I am always looking for new ideas and projects, and I like to go for my ideas, and this was one of them – and I see it as a step that could lead to the next.” Learn more about the project here.
The future of Parcel Service
As mentioned, the Parcel Service and team has experienced quite the growth. And their journey continues. This week, they have the pleasure of welcoming yet another team member; Ahu Özge Kubal, that will join the team on Friday. And with Ahu, a new focus area will also be brought to the service – the East Mediterranean/Black Sea to the Pacific. And so, it seems that this year will not be any different from the past ten in terms of growth and expansion. It is safe to say that the Parcel team and service is something to be proud of in Ultrabulk. And we are proud to be able to offer competent and reliable specialised cargo transportation to our customers. We are looking forward to seeing what the next decade will bring for our Parcel Service.
Congratulations to the team and their accomplishments! And remember to stop by for an anniversary salute when the team and the rest of our Specialised Service departments will visit Breakbulk Europe next month. Learn more about the event here.
To learn more about the Parcel Service, our routes and our team, click here.