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From ship to store: How a chemical tanker affects your everyday life

When the Bow Prosper arrived in New York on her maiden voyage, it was with the assistance of a global team on board and ashore – as is the case for all of our port calls. It takes a village to secure safe and efficient delivery of any cargo to any port. Every single person, on board and ashore, is vital for keeping the global supply chain turning, for making sure that you and I get the everyday products for our everyday life.

The amount of economic activity generated by a single port stretches far and impacts a wide array of supporting industries and companies – from the owners of the ship, the Charterer and owners of the cargo, to the truck driver hooking up the hose at the cooking oil bottling plant and the person stocking the shelves at the local grocery store.

The arrival of Bow Prosper did not get much attention from New Yorkers. And yet this 36,000 DWT, 28 tanks stainless steel vessel is part of a vital global supply chain that impacts almost every aspect of our daily lives. Bow Prosper’s visit to New York is just one of approximately 4,000 port calls Odfjell’s 80+ ships make in a year. Multiply that figure by the 50,000 ships in the international merchant fleet, and you start seeing the contours of the role shipping plays in global trade.

Odfjell's newbuilt chemical tanker Bow Prosper enters New York on the maiden voyage. Photo: Jonathan Atkin, Shipshooter | Odfjell

Bow Prosper arrives New York. Photo: Jonathan Atkin, Shipshooter

Chemicals as building blocks

Most of us take the products we use every day for granted: our car, PC, phone, clothes, food, the medicine we need, the hand sanitizer and disinfectants, all those gadgets and household items that make our lives a little easier, better and a whole lot safer.

You probably do not think of chemicals when using these products. But they are all made with chemicals, carried by sea to producers who need them as building blocks for an almost endless array of items.

Odfjell’s tankers transport many of the necessary chemicals for many of the most basic and essential items – some needed more than others these days:

  • Isopropyl Alcohol, possibly the most common and widely used disinfectant.
  • Acrylonitrile, used in the production of synthetic rubber for the manufacture of gloves and face masks.
  • Monoethylene Glycol (MEG), a component of textile fibers used in protective clothing.
  • Phenol, used to make polycarbonates, which feature in a wide variety of products, from construction materials to safety glasses and helmets.
  • Linear Alkyl Benzene, used for soap and detergents.

Other chemicals are used to manufacture medicines and vaccines, fertilizers, car parts, clothing and other textiles, make-up and skin products, drinking bottles and toys, house paints and insulation, and a variety of electronic products. Odfjell also carries edible products, such as wine and cooking oil, for consumers all around the world.

Chemicals are the core building blocks for numerous everyday products | Odfjell

Chemicals are building blocks for numerous everyday products

A global village of experts

Each port call activates a logistics chain of events that involves a multitude of industry experts. Within the Odfjell organization, 2,300 colleagues, on board and ashore, located in 13 different countries across five continents, work together to offer the highest quality service to our customers; captains and crew, shipbrokers, operators, technical superintendents, fleet performance and chartering experts, operations and commercial managers, to name a few.

The whole process is very much a symbiotic one: the complex operations on board are inextricably linked to the work of the many land-based Odfjell employees around the world who handle each ship’s scheduling and cargo contracts, ensure fast and smooth turnarounds in port, organize crew changes, technical supervision and provisions, and generally make sure that every voyage is as smooth and efficient as possible.

The complex logistics in port are planned and executed in close cooperation with local agents and teams in every harbor: Ship Agent, Pilots, Tug Assists, Launch companies, Line Handlers, Terminal Schedulers and Dock Workers, Cargo Receivers, Fuel Suppliers, Ship Chandlers.

In New York, the Bow Prosper was welcomed by Keith Shannon, Port Manager at Inchcape Shipping Services. He supports Odfjell’s ship, crew and land organization, ensuring that all goes smoothly from ship to shore, and liaising with local vendors and parties such as the US Coast Guard, customs and terminals.  

When the brand new, 28-tank chemical tanker came to shore, it made quite an impression on the experienced agent: 

“Bow Prosper is an incredible ship. She has sleek lines for a tanker and made incredible time while barreling towards New York Harbor. A true work horse of the sea, where she is cost effective, environmentally friendly and profitable.” 

Chemical tanker Bow Prosper. Photo: Jonathan Atkin, Shipshooter | Odfjell

“Bow Prosper’s experienced crew knew to utilize the Gulf Stream currents that flow up the US East Coast to push those couple extra knots. I’m impressed by how many cargoes she handled very effectively. With her 28-Stainless Steel Cargo Tanks, state of the art cleaning system and IG system she can handle a wide range of cargoes from highly volatile or sensitive chemicals to refined petroleum products and lube products. Pleasure to have worked with such a lovely lady.”

For her visit to New York, Bow Prosper brought food-grade oil to a customer specializing in edible oils. So, the next time a New Yorker prepares dinner, it may very well be that a 36,000 DWT chemical tanker, a 30 man crew, a wide network of vendors & partners and a whole village of shore staff played a part to make sure that the chef got that one, favorite brand of cooking oil.


Crew on board Odfjell's chemical tanker Bow Prosper. Photo: Jonathan Atkin, Shipshooter | Odfjell

Crew break to greet the city. Photo: Jonathan Atkin, Shipshooter

Odfjell's chemical tanker Bow Prosper arrives New York. Photo: Jonathan Atkin, Shipshooter | Odfjell

Photo: Jonathan Atkin, Shipshooter

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