2020 was a challenging year for many in the maritime industry with shipping firms across a range of sectors facing difficult, if not existential challenges. For Irish maritime however the sector experienced another year of strong development. It has been one of the overlooked themes in European shipping over the past five years, but the steady rise of Irish maritime has been a proper success story.
Among those growing on the Emerald Isle is Maritime Expert Ireland (MEI), an Irish-headquartered marine and cargo survey and consultancy company founded by Captain Johan Voogt and Sabrina Voogt-Toepoel.
Both Johan and Sabrina have extensive sailing experience and were aware of a demand for quality and reliability in the European cargo surveying market. Along with their surveying staff they carry out a range of surveys and superintendency services from their Waterford office.
“Irish seafarers are well-known for their quality across the global commercial maritime industry, it was always a significant element of our business strategy to hire in Ireland for our service lines across Europe,” says CEO, Capt Voogt. “This business requires an honesty and reliability beyond other elements of the sector and our growth has been due precisely to these qualities at MEI. Our clients love the difference between MEI, its staff and their traditional offerings in Rotterdam, Antwerp and Amsterdam- our busiest markets.”
With Brexit, a lot of Irish and EU companies may struggle with their logistics and the inspections of their cargoes. Some progress has been made by connecting Ireland with mainland Europe with DFDS opening a new line from Dunkirk to Rosslare but this progress presents additional challenges to shippers.
“The Dunkirk/Calais region has unfortunate migrant issues which can often lead to cargo and equipment damage as desperate migrants seek to make the transit to the UK and Ireland,” says Voogt, adding: “MEI is there to offer independent damage and survey reports to the industry.”