A new five-year contract with Shark Bay Salt (SBS) shows Svitzer’s ability to listen to and understand customer needs.

On 9 August, SVITZER WOONA and SVITZER OSPREY commenced serving the new contract with SBS, a salt export company in Onslow, Western Australia. Though the initial contract is comparatively small, it has the potential to develop into a 20-year deal. SBS approached Svitzer in 2013 with a query for terminal towage services. It quickly became apparent that winning the contract hinged on responding to the salt company’s concerns about significant communication problems and hidden costs they were experiencing with their service provider at the time.

Luke Bettesworth, General Manager of Western Australian Operations, who had been in that position merely a week (but joined Svitzer in 1998), made it a goal to review the issues that SBS was looking to remedy and openly determine exactly what Svitzer could offer as a lump cost per ship. It was an approach geared to give SBS absolute clarity about the services they would pay for. While the Svitzer proposal was by no means the least expensive one, it was centered on our ability to deliver service continuity, which was very important to SBS.

The dialog lasted 12 months due to SBS’s prior obligations, so perseverance was the key to winning the contract. “For me it was all about patience and continually keeping the discussion going,” says Luke. “Most people had written it off, and at some point I also thought we were wasting
our time. But winning here shows that if we hang in there, we prove Svitzer to be a committed and reliable business partner long before it gets to signing an actual contract.”

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