week we will reach the turning point, when the daylight time slowly starts to
increase again, which usually has a positive impact on the mindset of most
people here up in the north. Throughout the year we have seen several light
spots in the business environment, and when summing up, one could say that the
light at the end of the tunnel has been growing stronger over the course of the
year. In other words, we can finally indulge us to be optimistic when looking
towards the future.
the autumn has been a challenging one weather-wise, the number of performed
voyages, as well as the total amount of cargo transported, are clearly above
the figures compared to the year before. This is first and foremost due to the
increased volumes of our long-term contract partners, which of course makes us
happy after several years of zero, or even negative growth. Even the firm spot
market is indicating increased industrial activity. We are also pleased to have
several new contract customers on board, and will do our utmost best to fulfill
the expectations of both old and new collaborators.
full year of our special sister vessels Meri and Aura trading side by side in
the spot market is coming to its end, and the overall performance level can be
described as a pleasant surprise. Feedback from our European heavy industry
customers and other collaborators has been encouraging, and has strengthened
our vision that next year will be at least as good, if not even better than
these ongoing 12 month experienced so far. Year 2017 has also offered different
learning curves to our project team, including new interesting business
concepts, such as providing substitute vessel for marine research purposes, and
being part of an offshore-based construction project in the Baltic waters.
adjusted our fleet to match our contracts, and of course at the same time keeping
in mind that sooner or later, winter is coming. Our experienced crew is looking
forward to a busy but interesting new year, which we believe, will be brighter
than the past.
of the whole Meriaura crew, I wish you a peaceful Christmas holiday and a
successful new year 2018!
VG-Shipping and Gaiamare merger
The ship owning companies in Meriaura Group,
VG-Shipping Oy and Oy Gaiamare Ab, are merging January 1st 2018. The
merger decision was made in order to improve efficiency, simplify corporate structure
and respond to the tightening market conditions. The business will continue
unchanged and the merger will have no impact on customers, cooperators or
employees. Technically, the receiving company is Gaiamare, whose VAT no.
remains, but the company changes its name to VG-Shipping Oy. Through the merger
the “new” VG-Shipping becomes a major shipping company in Finland. As the year
changes, VG-Shipping owns and manages m/v Meri, Aura, Eeva VG, Mirva VG, Martta
VG and Polaris VG. VG-Shipping is the parent company of Meriaura, Elisa
Mikkolainen being the Managing Director of both companies. Besides shipowning,
VG-Shipping provides ship management and crewing services for other shipowners,
such as Meritaito, SYKE and Wasa Dredging.
Anticipating the merger, VG-Shipping’s bio oil business was transferred into a
separate company, VG EcoFuel Oy, already in November 2017.
From January 2018 onwards Jussi Mälkiä will step aside
from daily routines in shipping. He will remain Chairman of the Board for
Meriaura Group and concentrate on leading and developing the group’s companies
in bio and circular economy.
our staff: Chartering Manager Kristel Kusters, 34
you move to Finland?
I first moved to Finland in autumn 2005 as an exchange student.
Although it took me some time to adjust, I slowly fell in love with the
country and at the end also with a Finnish man. After the exchange, I moved
back to Belgium for a year, but the going back and forth became harder every time.
Finally I took the decision to leave it “all” behind and move to Finland. In my
first years I went to language courses in order to learn the logical, but
incredibly difficult language. This process is still going on.
you start in Meriaura?
In March 2008 I got a great opportunity to start in my own field as a
trainee in Meriaura. One of my first positions was at the Agency Department,
which was a good place to learn the job. Later on, I continued at the Operation
Department for about 8 years. Since September this year I started on my latest
What do you
like the most in your work?
The versatility of tasks is what I like the most. There are new
challenges every day, which means I have to give my best each day.
What you don’t
The downside of the job is, that some problems, no matter how hard you
try, cannot be solved.
What is the
biggest difference between chartering and operations?
The two Departments work hand in hand. The biggest difference is that as
a Charterer you have to look at the threats and opportunities of the whole
fleet in a long term. An operator, on the other hand, has to handle the
everyday operative side smoothly, which has its own challenges.
something about your family
I have been married for 7 years and we have 2 small, lovely children. Our daughter, Lisa, is 2 (almost 3) and our son, Elias, is 6 years old. A small pug completes the family.
What do you
like to do in your spare time?
I like to play with the kids, walk with the dog, and enjoy the small
things in life.
What do you
miss about Belgium?
I miss the Belgian food (especially the chocolate), friendliness and the