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With a good team, you can do anything

Harbour Master Äsa Karnebro

Åsa Kärnebro has spent her entire working life in the shipping sector, fulfilling diverse roles both on board and on shore. In this article, she looks back at the route she took to get where she is today and talks about how, with the support of her team and network, she is preparing for tomorrow. 

Åsa set sail as soon as she left school. It was 1985 when she took up her first position as able seaman on a tanker vessel with Swedia Shipping. It was to be the start of a dynamic maritime career. By 1991, when she was just 24 years old, Åsa had already earned Junior Officer status – combining her experience a year later with a Masters degree at the Merchant Marine Academy.

A few years later, Åsa decided to start a family. It was time to go ashore, at least for a while. Soon though, she was back out on the water, working on pleasure craft amongst the islands of the Stockholm archipelago. At this stage, though, she was sure that she wanted to spend time with her family and was going to have to come ashore for the long-term.

“The difficulty was, I had only ever worked on board. My whole career to that point had been on the water. I didn’t know anything else.”

Goteborg

“My whole career had been on the water. I didn’t know anything else.”

Undeterred, she started applying for every sort of shore-based maritime role she could find. It wasn’t long before Åsa found herself a position teaching navigation and tanker-based courses at the Merchant Marine School in Gothenburg.

Soon after, however, Swedia Shipping approached her and offered her a HR role and she was back with her old company. It was a time of change in the Swedish maritime industry. For the first time, the country’s shipping sector was about to employ Filipino sailors onboard. Åsa’s role was to help prepare the ground for this.

The process went smoothly and Åsa quickly attracted the attention of DFDS, who were also about to embark on the employment of Filipinos. It was time for another change.

“I really enjoyed working with other cultures. I learned a lot about other people, but also a lot about myself. I particularly enjoyed the personal contact we had with the sailors and their families. We organised a lot of events to introduce them to the company and its values.  At the same time, we were providing Swedish officers with inter-cultural training to help them bring out the best in the crew and ensure they were well treated. This was one of my best years.”

As Åsa herself says, however, all good things come to an end. Fortunately, new beginnings were just around the corner. In 2002, she started work in a new role as personnel manager for the pilots and VTS personnel in the Port of Gothenburg. This led, in time, to employment in the port itself. Here, Åsa helped to set up a 24/7 vessel traffic centre. With her experience in pilotage, she was able to make a valuable contribution.

“I learned a lot about other people, but also a lot about myself. This was one of my best years.”

“I felt something was missing,” she explains. “I felt the port needed to work with VTS. I started lobbying and, in 2012, we brought them in. Since then, we’ve had a very good cooperation. It’s made a significant improvement in port communications.”

It was after this that Åsa took up the position of Deputy Harbour Master in the Port of Gothenburg. In 2015, a new opportunity arose when the Harbour Master retired. Åsa was offered the position. Initially, however, she declined.

“I felt it would be difficult to fill the Harbour Master's shoes, but with a good team, you can do anything.”

“There was a lot of responsibility involved. Besides, the Harbour Master is a very public figure in the port and in the area generally. The former Harbour Master was a very outgoing person. I felt it would be difficult to fill his shoes.”

In the end, though, Åsa was persuaded to give the role a go, with things turning out well.

“I have a good team. With a good team, you can do anything,” she states.

Already in her role as Deputy Harbour Master, Åsa had come into contact with the IHMA.

“As soon as I started work in the port, my predecessor had said to me ‘you need to be a member of the IHMA’. So, I signed up and soon the President at the time asked me to join the council.”

Åsa is very clear that the IHMA has been of benefit to her in her career, and also to other Harbour Masters out there.

“The IHMA is very important for Harbour Masters. Being a Harbour Master can be a lonely job. The only people who understand you and the challenges you face are other Harbour Masters. The IHMA is a valuable network that provides the means for Harbour Masters to find one another. If I need to get in touch with a colleague, I know they will welcome that contact.”

The association, she says, also provides a platform for Harbour Maters preparing for the future.

Container Terminal Goteborg

“The only people who understand you are other Harbour Masters. The IHMA provides the means to find one another.”

“The many seminars the IHMA holds are a great place, not only to meet new colleagues, but also to get answers, for example, about the energy transition. We work very closely with the IMO, which also helps. There is plenty of discussion about alternative fuels and other solutions that will be of increasing importance. The chance to share thoughts and experiences in this way is very important.

“That’s the thing about this job, you are learning new things every day. It can be stressful, and the questions keep coming, but with my team and the support of my colleagues in the IHMA, I feel very confident.”

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OceanWise Charting Water Workshop

Brought to you by OceanWise and Brewzone Africa - Join the first Charting Water Workshop entitled “Harnessing Environmental Data for Hydrography" which is running on the 15th - 16th April 2024 at the Four Points by Sheraton Hotel Lagos, Nigeria.

Bringing hydrography professionals together from all over West Africa, this intimate 2-day workshop will provide you with practical knowledge, guidance and best practice. You will enjoy a mix of presentations, round table discussions and training. Our expert speakers will guide you through the latest developments, technologies and methodologies used in hydrography, helping you understand the importance of accurate marine environmental monitoring data to support marine operations and national infrastructure. We will also have a number of key real-world case studies and local experts in attendance to provide some best practice and recent hands-on experiences.

Full details of the developing programme and registration can be found here on our Eventbrite page

Registration is now open. Spaces are limited so please register now to secure your place.

What will it cover?
This workshop will provide you with practical knowledge, guidance and best practice. You will enjoy a mix of presentations, round table discussions and training. Our expert speakers will guide you through the latest developments, technologies and methodologies used in hydrography, helping you understand the importance of accurate marine environmental monitoring data to support marine operations and national infrastructure.

Who is it for and why should I attend?
This is for professionals with an interest in Hydrography based in, or working in, West Africa.
Ideal for individuals from a variety of industries including Ports, Harbours, Inland Waterways, Oil and Gas, Education, Navy, Maritime Authorities, Research and Development etc etc
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Introducing Tanger Med

Tanger Med is the 1st port in Africa and in the Mediterranean.

It’s a global logistics gateway located on the Strait of Gibraltar and connected to more than 180 ports worldwide with handling capacities of: 9 million containers, exports of 1 million new vehicles, transit of 7 million passengers and 700,000 trucks on an annual basis.

Cargoes handled

Containers

In 2021 7,173,870 TEU were handled in Tanger Med port complex, up by 24% compared to 2020. This traffic results from the steady increase of Tanger Med 2 port after the successive commissioning of the terminals TC4 in 2019 and TC3 in 2021.

This result confirms the leadership of Tanger Med in the Mediterranean and Africa, and consolidates the position of this major hub for global maritime alliances led respectively by Maersk Line, CMA CGM and Hapag Lloyd.

Tonnage

In 2021 101,054,713 tons of goods were handled for the first time in Tanger Med port complex, an increase of 25% compared to 2020. Indeed, the tonnage handled by Tanger Med port complex represents more than 50% of the overall tonnage handled by all Moroccan ports.

Trucks

The port complex handled 407,459 trucks in 2021, a rise of 14% compared to 2020. This traffic was mainly driven by the resumption of industrial exports as well as by the good performance of the agricultural season and agro-industrial exports.

Cars

Regarding new vehicles 429,509 were handled at the two vehicle terminals of Tanger Med port in 2021, an increase of 20% compared to the previous year. The traffic included: 278,651 Renault vehicles including 250,532 for export. A rise in exports of PSA vehicles totalled 100,030 cars.

Liquid bulk

Liquid bulk traffic has increased by 9% compared to 2020. It recorded a total traffic of 8,744,900 tons of hydrocarbons handled.

Solid bulk

Solid bulk traffic recorded a total of 342,804 tons processed, an increase of 13% compared to 2020 driven by the traffic of steel coils, wind blades and grain.

Traffic

Growing maritime traffic saw 10,902 vessels calling at Tanger Med in 2021, up by 12% from 2020. Over the past year, the port complex has welcomed nearly 929 mega-ships (over 290 metres loa).

The position of Tanger Med

This performance above accomplished during 2021 affirms the position of the port complex as a major strategic hub emphasising its role as a key logistics platform serving the nations logistic competitiveness.

Achievements are the result of the continued collaboration of all partners of Tanger Med port complex, particularly ship owners, concessionaires, local authorities and administrations.

 

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For 25 years AMPI has been recognised as the professional body for developing, setting and leading in the evolution of industry standards, safety management protocols and advising regulatory bodies on matters related to Marine Pilotage.

As a globally recognised organisation and partner of the International Maritime Pilots Association (IMPA), we directly contribute to the work of the International Maritime Organisation. With over 260 active pilot members, we have the experience and know-how to develop widely recognised industry guidelines including initial and continual pilotage training standards. AMPI continues to influence the development of world-leading practice and in doing so brings a higher level of safety to the ports and regions where our members operate.

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Latest News & Events

Newhaven receives CTV pontoon upgrade to support Rampion Offshore Wind Farm Newhaven receives CTV pontoon upgrade to support Rampion Offshore Wind Farm

As part of the refurbishment for the operations and maintenance (O&M) base for the Rampion Offshore Wind Farm, Inland and Coastal Marina Systems (ICMS) has installed a floating concrete… FIND OUT MORE

IHMA Congress 2024 IHMA announces 2024 Congress: The Marine Adventure – Evolving and adapting to change in today’s ports.

The International Harbour Masters Association (IHMA) and Tanger Med Port Authority are pleased to announce the 14th International Harbour Masters Congress. The key theme of… FIND OUT MORE

Latest News & Events

As part of the refurbishment for the operations and maintenance (O&M) base for the Rampion Offshore Wind Farm, Inland and Coastal Marina Systems (ICMS) has installed a floating concrete breakwater within the Port of Newhaven to provide safe berthing facilities for crew transfer vessels (CTVs).

The International Harbour Masters Association (IHMA) and Tanger Med Port Authority are pleased to announce the 14th International Harbour Masters Congress. The key theme of this 2024 event is The Marine Adventure – Evolving and adapting to change in today’s ports. Tanger Med Port Authority will host the congress at the Tanger Med Port Center from 21 to 24 May 2024.