A Case Study in Supply Chain Management
Shamrock Shipping and Trading Ltd. is a global distributor of petrochemicals, base oils, additives, finished lubricants, solvents and glycols. Over the past 15 years, the company has become a one-stop shop within the lubricants industry, serving customers in more than 45 countries. On the supply side, Shamrock cooperates with refineries and raw materials producers in more than 25 countries around the world.
The main business is supported by several related services, which include technical expertise, sourcing, transportation, storage and financing. In this way, the company handles the complete supply chain—from refinery to end user—guaranteeing uninterrupted and reliable deliveries worldwide.
Founded in 2006 in Cyprus, the company currently has offices and representatives in several countries, including United Arab Emirates and Brazil, with a team of people from diverse cultural backgrounds, speaking nine languages. The company’s character is shaped by such core values as quality, sustainability, flexibility, reliability and integrity. These characteristics are reflected in the certifications and memberships that Shamrock has today.
Shamrock is an ISO-certified company (ISO 9001:2015). The certification has facilitated Shamrock’s further expansion in the international market. For a better understanding of the local requirements and developments in these international markets, Shamrock became a member of well-known lubricant industry associations, such as the Union of the European Lubricants Industry and the United States’ Independent Lubricant Manufacturers Association.
Shamrock is also a REACH-registered importer under the European Chemicals Agency and is an approved exporter.
The company’s roots are in the trading and shipping of petrochemicals with the purpose of simplifying the way customers connect with suppliers and improving market accessibility and transparency for all businesses.
Shamrock’s product portfolio includes a wide range of base oil grades from Group I to polyalphaolefins, esters, rerefined base oils and white oils. It also delivers advanced additives, finished lubricants and other petrochemicals.
In terms of origin, the trading team continuously checks the availability of products, considering specifications and other technical parameters required by each customer and, of course, trade agreements between the countries and optimum supply routes.
In 2008, while looking for ways to improve logistics and help customers optimize cash flow, the Shamrock team started researching a new technology that had been developed by the military for the storage and transportation of various liquid cargoes: the flexitank. For more than a decade, Shamrock has been a pioneer in using this innovative technology, cutting down costs for buyers and adding one more transport solution for bulk deliveries. Shamrock has assisted and developed this method of transportation with refineries and customers alike. Other packaging solutions are available for certain products, such as IBCs and drums.
The company also offers toll blending and private label options.
Finance is paramount to Shamrock’s mission. From a financial point of view, there are many challenges for lubricant traders and manufacturers. Different countries have different financial regulations and pose different financial risks. Because of this, Shamrock has employed a team of trade finance experts responsible for understanding each customer’s needs and risks, while continually trying to find the best solutions to finance new and existing business.
It is very important for Shamrock to be able to solve not only logistics and operational problems but also to meet the financial requirements for every deal. Financial support is provided for stock purchases and covering delivery costs to destinations at preferable freight rates by using various payment options and instruments.
The past couple of years have been especially difficult for the entire world. Against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, the lubricants industry has likely witnessed its most challenging time to date. Countries and economies have gone into and out of lockdown, refineries have closed or downsized, and production has seen significant cutbacks. These events have caused major logistics bottlenecks as well as higher prices across the entire supply chain, from raw materials to freight and storage.
This year appears to have unleashed another major disaster on the world, with the Russian invasion of Ukraine. At the time of writing, it is impossible to predict the ultimate outcome of this event and the longer term effects that it will impose on the global economy. The human cost alone has so far been horrific and will likely continue to escalate. Furthermore, economic and diplomatic sanctions are still bound to bite, leaving their marks on many nations around the globe.
Fortunately, Shamrock has a plan for future years to continue to provide its customers with reliable and tailor-made services and products, and also to assist refineries with further allocation of their products. During 2021, Shamrock celebrated 15 years of successful operations and went through a rebranding process. However, its core values have remained unaltered and are preserved by an equitable basis between shareholders, the owners of the company and the company’s team of employees. On the supply side of Shamrock’s operation, refineries continue to value the assistance that Shamrock provides in marketing their products to industries and end users around the world.
Shamrock also emphasizes its people-focused business strategy. The people of Shamrock are at the center of its business, the company said. They strive to be reachable, knowledgeable, able and ready to assist and provide market information, which is fundamental to sound decision making processes.
Ray Masson is director of Pumacrown Ltd., a trader and broker of petroleum products in London, U.K. Send him comments or topic suggestions at email@example.com