Monday, 15 February 2010

Hutchison takes knife to ACT top brass

Hutchsion Port Holdings will dismiss the 11- strong management team of its subsidiary Amsterdam Container Terminal (formerly Ceres Paragon)
ACT's CEO Pieter Bas Bredius described the management clear-out - which includes himself - "as a logical step…we proposed it ourselves. With HPH as majority shareholders, a facility like this should be run lean and mean, and should not have its own fully-fledged local management.

"Rotterdam is just down the road and HPH’s regional HQ is well-staffed. ECT's president Jan Westerhoud is responsible for all HPH's European terminals and business development north of the Mediterranean, excluding the UK."

The ACT management team will leave towards the middle of this year, with some reports suggesting March, in what Bredius calls "complete harmony and in a very decent manner. Compulsory redundancies are unlikely, as everybody backs it.

"We are very proud to have gotten this terminal off the ground in the face of Rotterdam competition, and we’ll continue to seek new deepsea liner business to the end."

Bredius joined the then Chris Kritikos-owned Ceres Paragon facility terminal in December 2003 (it was sold to NYK in December 2006), Before that he was director, terminals and procurement, with PONL in Rotterdam.

Operations manager Chris Schaffers will be the only senior staffer to stay and head the 130 strong workforce, but their fate is also unclear. Westerhoud is said to be considering the option of transferring a number of the Amsterdam dockers to one of ECT’s four Rotterdam marine terminal complexes.

HPH has failed to lure the Wan Hai Lines/PIL service to Amsterdam, but is still eying a few options to keep the terminal alive on a stand-alone basis.

As previously reported, the Port of Rotterdam's CEO Hans Smits is of the opinion that ACT should concentrate on inland shipping and barge services. So far at least, HPH is resisting that outcome.

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