In an industry where time is money, actions need to happen fast. Should one of Østensjø Rederi’s vessels be delayed in dock due to a missing spare part, one might well see Johs. Lothe chartering a helicopter to speed things up.– Fortunately, these situations do not occur very often. But there’s no doubt that we’re in a business where action needs to be taken quickly, says shipbroker Jan Lothe, General Manager of Johs. Lothe AS since 1990.
Jan Lothe, General Manager of Johs. Lothe, Haugesund, and his staff, carry out customs clearance, forwarding and storage of commodities and equipment for Østensjø Rederi’s vessels. Photo: Liv Alsaker Sande
Since the early 2000s, Johs. Lothe AS has been one of Østensjø Rederi’s preferred partners. The company handles customs clearance, forwarding, and storage of commodities and equipment for all Østensjø Rederi’s vessels. Everything is stored and transported from Lothe’s terminal in Haugesund, or from the warehouse at Husøy in the region’s new cargo port.
– Østensjø Rederi is one of our key customers, and we’re very grateful for the excellent working relations with the company. As shipbroker Johs. Lothe is also a customer of Østensjø Rederi. When tugs or supply vessels are required, Østensjø Rederi is a natural choice for us as long as they’re competitive. And most of the time they are, in terms of both price and quality, Jan Lothe says.
INITIATIVE AND ADAPTABILITY
The company was founded by brothers Sjur and Johannes Lothe back in 1923. The twosome had been engaged in herring exports and shipping since 1915, and now turned the operations to shipbroking, shipping agents and shipping business. In 1935 the company changed its name to Johs Lothe AS, which remains the company name today. Since then many chapters have been written, and the development of the company is reflecting the town’s history. It’s a story about initiative, optimism, and adaptability. Today the transport, forwarding and shipping company has an experienced staff, an up-to-date equipment park and solid business partners at home and abroad.
– It’s sometimes claimed that the third generation tends to mess things up, but so far things have gone well, Jan Lothe smiles, adding that they have been through both good and hard times.
Until the fall of 2008, Johs. Lothe AS was the local agent for Fjord Line and DFDS. Unfortunately, Fjord Line chose to discontinue calls at Haugesund on the sea route to Denmark in favor of Tananger. DFDS also dropped the service to Newcastle.
– It was tough to lose this business. 500 calls annually disappeared overnight, and sadly a number of our employees had to find something else to do. The downturn in the oil industry in 2014 also hit us hard, and we were forced to downsize and lay off staff. We have now reached a safe haven again, and the future looks bright, Jan Lothe says, who in 1996 was appointed honorary Danish consul in Haugesund.– My duties are primarily to assist Danish citizens in our area,
amongst others through issuing passports, emergency passports
and so on, Lothe tells us.
PERSONAL CONTACT IS IMPORTANT
The staff currently counts 12 co-workers, many of them with a long time of service in the company. They all have good knowledge of the digital world, upon which the company, like so many others, is entirely dependent. However, useful as they may be, apps, customised computer programs, and fully digitalised services cannot entirely replace personal contact.
– Having good relations with customers and partners is incredibly important; talking on the phone or meeting face to face is worth its weight in gold. Such communication helps to clarify matters which are not always digitally captured – as a matter of fact, personal relations may be seen as part of our quality assurance, Jan Lothe says.
The person in Østensjø Rederi who Johs Lothe AS communicate with on a daily basis is IT & Logistics Manager Steinar Hindal.
– Lothe has for a number of years handled Østensjø Rederi’s requirement for storage and transport and has provided us with sound advice and solutions. One of the advantages of Johs. Lothe is that the lines of communication are short, and they have the ability to turn around fast. The fact that they are located in Haugesund is a great advantage for us. I doubt we would have had such close and good cooperation if they were located elsewhere.
Steinar Hindal. Photo: Østensjø Rederi