By Alex Binkley

It’s never easy being the new kid on the block or, in Philip O’Brien’s case, the newcomer on the docks. But, O’Brien wants to build Castaloop, his fledgling company, into a key player in the stevedoring business in ports on the Great Lakes, the St. Lawrence River and Atlantic Canada.

He has a contract to provide stevedoring services in Port Hawkesbury, N.S. and is in negotiations to serve three other terminals. He’s cautious in providing details because he doesn’t want to give away too many details to his well-established competitors. “We’re working with specific customers in various locations.”

Like many other facets of transportation, stevedoring is poised to undergo sweeping changes because of new technology and equipment, he said. Castaloop is in a position to exploit new ways of operating break and break-bulk terminals.

Castaloop was founded in 2016 through a partnership between Groupe Bellemare and Groupe Somavrac, O’Brien said. He has 20 years of experience in the business and has assembled an experienced management team. Details are available on the company website “We have solid partners in this venture and a wealth of experience in this business,” he said. “We can help our customers innovate their operations.”

While transportation and the supply chains have undergone sweeping transformation in recent years, stevedoring hasn’t evolved much during the last few decades, he said. “There’s huge potential if we reconnect ourselves to the supply chain.” That will require creative investment in new equipment for handling cargo.

“We won’t attempt to be everything to everyone; rather, we focus at what we are good at: handling cargo to and from ships and operating terminals with your cargo,” he said. “We’re interested in reinventing how longshoremen handle ocean freight in Canadian ports. As a Castaloop client, you can be confident that you obtain the best solution to meet your requirements and the most efficient method of shipping your specific products. “Handling bulk and break-bulk cargo should be planned and orchestrated, but never improvised,” he said. “A better process enables you to benefit from economies of scale while maintaining excellence of quality.”

Castaloop offers an open and customer-focused approach to cargo handling, he said.