Fednav (Belgium) N.V. on Tuesday (May 24) celebrated its 50th anniversary at a reception held at the Den Brandt Castle.
At this event, a short video promoting FALLine, its transatlantic general cargo liner service, was released:
Mark Pathy, President and CEO of Fednav International Ltd., noted, “We’re proud of the success of our Fednav office in Belgium over the past 50 years, during which it has been critical to the development of our trans-Atlantic trade routes.
“The company, despite the challenging times for our industry, is well-positioned for the future, thanks to its modern fleet, strong balance sheet, and of course, the dedication of its employees here in Antwerp, back in Canada, and around the world.
“While Fednav is a more global operation than it was 50 years ago, we remain committed to our critical niche trades as evidenced by our recent fleet renewal program which includes 19 box-hold handysize newbuildings, all of which are Lakes-suitable and ice-class for year-round trading in the St. Lawrence."
Soon after the inauguration of the St. Lawrence Seaway in 1959, and the ensuing boost in grain exports, Fednav discovered that steel products inbound offered a perfect repositioning cargo from Belgium and the regular FALLine service started. Steel was also carried from Germany, the UK, and other countries, but the epicentre always remained Antwerp.
Antwerp on the Schelde River is the general cargo port par excellence, centrally located, with a good Rhineland connection and experienced dock workers. Initially, and for many years, Cobelfret served as general commercial and port agents for the line. Early on, a Fednav office was deemed necessary in Antwerp and in June 1966, Federal Commerce & Navigation (Belgium) S.A., was incorporated.
Now, 50 years later, Fednav (Belgium) N.V., or Fednav Antwerp, as it is known today, is the group’s largest overseas office and continues to run the company’s FALLine service for steel and general cargoes.
The Belgian office has commercial, operations, and documentation departments as well as its own cargo superintendents. A network of independent booking agents located throughout Europe, some of which date back 50 years, cover the continent and report to Fednav Antwerp. As part of this office’s additional responsibilities, the commercial department has also developed chartering activities while the operations department is responsible for the management of all vessels trading in the Baltic and Mediterranean Seas.
In 2015, FALLine operated 70 voyages with steel, breakbulk, and general cargoes between the European continent and the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River—more than any other service and double the number of voyages of just 5 years ago.
Fednav Antwerp also announced that the official name of FALLine, Federal Atlantic Lakes Line, was replaced by Fednav Atlantic Lakes Line for marketing and branding purposes.