Agent slips the ropes on a historic port tie

By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 25 Jul 2018

A SHIP’S agent that acted for the first vessel to officially enter Port of Immingham 116 years ago, has set sail from its prestigious lock-side offices, dropping anchor at Stallingborough’s Mariner House.

Carlbom Shipping is now led by fourth generation chair, Camilla Carlbom Flinn, and has made the move from Port Office to embrace modern working practices and a growth in Grimsby work, underlined when it was one of two South Bank companies recently flagged up at Orsted’s Race Bank offshore wind farm’s inauguration as supply chain stars.

And some great prints, family portraits and other company heirlooms have made the short journey.

Mrs Carlbom Flinn said: “We had been looking for some time. We loved the office, the history was there, but with more work in Grimsby it made sense to relocate, and we didn’t need the space. “There was a dedicated room that served as a captain’s office, as they would once come up and make calls home, and latterly with computers, send e-mails. Now they have everything like that onboard, so we were left with a lot of grandiose storage space.

“It is much more practical where we are now, as well as being closer to the warehousing we use, with twice daily visits there.”

Read more: 'Offshore wind is spinning round a 40 year story of decline' - major investor's take on Grimsby's latest addition

The appropriately named location, on Trondheim Way, just off Kiln Lane, is also home to Unifeeder and Selvic, making it a port community away from the water.

With the passing of her father, Anthony, a decade ago she returned to the area from London, where she was working as a journalist to take the helm, also assuming his roles with the Swedish chamber and consular duties.

A regular face at sector events, she told of the importance of organisations she holds dear. With the sudden passing of her father, Anthony, a decade ago, she returned to the area from London, where she was working as a journalist to take the helm far earlier than anticipated, also assuming his roles with the Swedish chamber and consular duties.

“Traditionally our background is bulk cargo and tankers,” she said. “I got interested in offshore wind 10 years ago because it was so new. I thought it was an interesting, new market. When you look after a ship, it is the same whether it is big or small, it just may mean more paperwork, but is still the same business.

“We are a small company and outside of the local area we are not necessarily very well known, and we have got to compete with multi-national ships agencies who have one agent in every port. We focus on the Humber, that’s our specialist area. I do a lot of travelling to promote and market the company and organisations like

Read more: £9.2m energy efficiency fund for small businesses

Grimsby Renewables Partnership and Team Humber Marine Alliance make all the difference to a small company like us. They support you and are there for you as a business at national and international conferences and are brilliant at networking and helping other companies in the Humber. They are worth their weight in gold.”

So too, is the contract with North East Lincolnshire’s largest inward investor.

“Orsted was very important to us. We worked on Westermost Rough and Race Bank, and now we are commencing work on Hornsea Project One, looking after all the small crew transfer vessels and service operation vessels running out of Grimsby, and one or two of the larger vessels running out of Immingham.

“These vessels supply the jack-up barges, and it is a lot of vessel calls per month, so it is keeping us really busy. As a result we have taken on a junior ship’s agent as a result, so it has directly contributed to the employment.”

Read more: Humber giants welcome long term offshore wind commitment

It has seen the team grow to eight, which after consolidation with coal losses puts a smile on Mrs Carlbom Flinn’s face.

“The company has been quite dynamic in changing. There has been a reduction in coal, and we have had to downsize over the past 10 years, so it is wonderful to have the opportunity to start expanding again and look to train up the next generation of ship’s agents. It is a tough job, it is 24/7. We have people out on a Sunday night, and first thing Monday morning. It takes a certain aptitude and dedication.”

Work has opened up to include procurement, warehousing and logistics too for the wind farm developer’s fleet needs.

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