Growing in size is good for us all

By Alexis Van Costenobel, Cory Brothers Hub Agency

It’s an exciting time at Cory Brothers. As we celebrate our 180th anniversary, our merger with long-standing partner Vertom is complete, meaning we’re now much larger and better positioned to serve our customers, people and the local community.

Published in Norfolk Director magazine, Spring | Summer 2022

Supply Chain: Cory Brothers

The world’s biggest container ships might be unwieldy and tricky to manoeuvre (remember the Suez Canal last year?) – but substantial shipping companies like Cory Brothers use scale to become even more agile and efficient.

We have four divisions: Ships Agency, Hub Agency, Liner Agency and Logistics Services, with the Hub Agency being my responsibility, based out of Cory Brothers’ Basildon office in Essex, within easy reach of the Thames and port operations at Tilbury.

The merger with Vertom (the holding company is called VertomCory, but we continue under the name of Cory Brothers) effectively doubled the group’s size, making us the biggest shipping agency in Europe.

Our role at the Hub Agency is to be the professional conduit between the principal (responsible for a ship or cargo) and local people, facilities and services. Our strength is built upon strong foundations of compliance, reliability and smooth processes.

Now, we have a larger footprint the world over. And while much of my Hub Agency team’s work is on the smooth movement of oil and gas, our service is expanding into other sectors to meet customer requirements.

Working in the community

The Vertom deal was first announced last year. It’s taken a long time to finalise (officially on March 1), but that is good. It means nothing has been rushed, and it has allowed the staff on both sides to get fully prepared for the advantages it brings.

Our combined skills and capabilities mean our customers will see us stronger and find our services offer more value and are more aligned to their needs than ever before.

But while we expand, we will never forget our roots and work within the community. We continue to sponsor and invest locally and nationally, backing good causes, sports and charities. And we intend to increase our efforts supporting the wellbeing of seafarers, too.

We all enjoy working with the Queen Victoria Seamen’s Rest (QVSR) charity, which has a centre in Tilbury, providing a safe haven for active and retired seafarers. As Christmas approached, we joined a push to wrap gifts for seafarers. As you might expect, serving seamen can find themselves far from home for months at a time, so the support they get from QVSR is always welcome.

The pandemic may have kept us all apart during the various lockdowns, but it has ended up bringing us all closer together.

Our teams love to get involved in helping others, and certainly, the younger people joining the business expect it. Corporate social responsibility used to be something that was ticked off, but now it is an integral part of what businesses do today.

I’m proud that Cory Brothers, now a formidable giant in the shipping world, takes CSR seriously and allows us all to play a part. It’s been 180 years in the making, and we’re not finished yet.

Growing in size is good for us all 1

Alexis Van Costenobel is General Manager of Global Hubs at Cory Brothers.
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