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Editor in chief: Angelo Scorza
15/07/19 10:32

Pratolongo planted his cluster-pine also in the hard rock of Russia

First geographical diversification from Indonesia for Rocktree, which established a joint-venture with EMCO East Mining Company for maritime transport of coal from the Sakhalin island; meanwhile, it also expanded its fleet

Rocktree Logistics Pte Ltd, the Italian company based in Singapore, which recently established a branch also in Italy, and specialized in maritime transport of coal and other dry bulk cargoes worldwide is expanding steadily.

CEO Daniele Pratolongo disclosed the latest news during his visit to the new office recently opened in Genoa, where at the end of May they established their Italian branch Rocktree Consulting Srl.

“In 2018, we purchased a fleet of 14 barges and 14 tugboats to be deployed in Indonesia, besides 4 self-propelled barges and 2 supramax units for multipurpose terminals. All units were purchased on the second-hand market because we needed to deploy them in operational areas immediately.

In fact, we entered into a service contract for which we establish a joint-venture in Russia with EMCO East Mining Company, known as Rocktree EMCO Stevedores.

This is our first geographical diversification from Indonesia, where we started our activity a dozen years ago”, Singapore-based CEO explained in an exclusive interview.

“The investment is related to the handling of Russian coal, as in Russia logistics is slightly different than in Indonesia, where shallow waters make things more complex. In Russia, the main difficulties related to climate, because ships can operate only eight months per year due to frozen seas. In the Sakhalin peninsula, above the Sea of Japan, we carry out transhipment of coal extracted from local mines on panamax and capesize vessels. This year, we expect to handle 33 million tons of dry bulk cargoes, 9 million of which in Russia.

In Sakhalin we deployed the specialized ship RT Genova, which was renewed in Batam (Indonesia), and the former Bulk Irony of Coeclerici’s fleet, which was deployed in Piombino and renewed in China in 2018, and which we renamed EMCO 1. The 2 floating transhipment terminals operate together with the 4 self-propelled barges recently purchased”, Pratolongo explained from the Genoa headquarters where Rocktree Consulting Srl Managing Director Mario Terenzio operates with a staff of 6 highly qualified people who had already worked with the company’s core team in the past.

After 13 years of seafaring, Capt. Terenzio designed the most inspirational dry bulk cargoes maritime logistics projects for 25 years, first for the Coeclerici Group, and then establishing Logmarin Advisors (which was subsequently taken over by the RINA Group, and transferred to former D’Appolonia’s branch), before accepting Rocktree’s offer.

The 40 years-old CEO Pratolongo started working for the Coeclerici Group in 2000, in the trading sector, and in 2003 he accepted to open the group’s office in Jakarta, where he remained until 2007, taking advantage of the commodities boom.

In 2007, Scorpio Logistics was incorporated in Singapore, and Pratolongo became its general manager, thus combining his know-how acquired in the trading sector with the new shipping, transport and logistics activity in order to provide a value added service compared to his competitors.

In 2009, the company acquired the first ship, Zeus, equipped with 2 onboard cranes and with a loading rate capacity of 40,000 tons per day.

Afterwards the company purchased other ships, starting with the OBO panamax Mara, converted in 2010 and equipped with 4 onboard cranes, with a loading rate capacity of 60,000 tons per day.

In November 2011, the company was renamed Rocktree, following a management buy-out, in which Pratolongo actively took part.

“For the name, we drew inspiration from a cluster-pine on a rock in the middle of the sea off the Portofino coast, which represented perseverance and resilience in creating something where it would seem impossible to do so”, the CEO explained.

Meanwhile, the fleet kept on growing: in 2015, they purchased the unit Apollo, equipped with 2 onboard cranes and with a loading rate capacity of 40,000 tons per day.

On top of that, they purchased the 2 transhipment units which Coeclerici had sold to the Brazilian company VALE, that decided to dispose of them: former Bulk Limpopo, RT Leo, a supramax unit built in 2011 and equipped with 5 onboard cranes and with a loading rate capacity of 72,000 tons per day; and its sister unit (built in 2012) RT Genova, former Bulk Zambesi, which had been deployed in Mozambique.

The company’s owned fleet consists of 6 ships deployed in its multipurpose terminals (3) and in its offshore floating terminals (3), of 18 barges (some of which are self-propelled) and 14 tugboats. The company uses also chartered units, while evaluating additional investments in units for coastal transports and transhipment.

The company currently boasts 70 employees from 9 different countries, 22 of whom are headquartered in Singapore. At the end of May, it opened its new office in Genoa, with 6 employees, planning to expand further.

“In the past 10 years we handled 160 million tons, and this year we will achieve the record figure of 33 million combining Indonesia and Russia. The trend is increasing. In fact, in 2011 we recorded an overall handling of 12 million tons, and Russia is the new business frontier”, declared Pratolongo explaining that “our corporate mission focuses on innovation and transparency. Our work can be summarized in two words: passion and challenge.

We developed our own software allowing us to manage cargoes through an App and cameras mounted on each ship, allowing us to control every single handling operation worldwide.

We want to create a quality standard in carbon and other raw materials logistics (we are planning to handle bauxite, iron ore and grains), applying the vetting carried out for the oil&gas sector to coal and other dry bulk cargoes. We also aim at becoming a benchmark of onboard safety”, the company’s top management explained.

“We plan to gather together a work team which acquired the necessary know-how in various companies in order to emphasize the real company’s asset, i.e. staff professionalism. To that end, we are planning to establish a collaboration with the University of Genoa to train young people for internships in Indonesia, Singapore and Russia”.

Angelo Scorza

TAG : Bulker