Archers Daniels Midland

The secret ingredient that makes hot cocoa delicious around the world? Our local knowledge.

Archers Daniels Midland (ADM) is one of the world’s leading agricultural processors. A loyal customer for many years, ADM continue to use Safmarine for importing cocoa beans from Ghana.

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Anouk Van Rooyen (Sales Representative, Safmarine Netherlands) and Ad Grinwis (Operations & Shipping Manager, ADM) in front of ADM’s factory in Koog aan de Zaan, the Netherlands, where cocoa beans are processed into chocolate.

Ad Grinwis, Operations & Shipping Manager for Archers Daniels Midland (ADM), is based in the Netherlands and is responsible for the company’s cocoa shipments.

Cocoa beans are Ghana’s largest export, accounting for 40 per cent of the country’s foreign exchange earnings. Harvesting starts in October, followed by the busy shipping season from November to April, with shipments going out from Port Tema and Port Takoradi. It is from these ports that ADM’s cocoa beans are shipped to the company’s cocoa facilities, where the semi-finished products are then sent to ADM’s customers all over the world and turned into delicious chocolate products enjoyed by millions of people every day.

When Ad joined ADM in 2001, he was sent to West Africa almost straight away. He may have been new to the cocoa business, but he was experienced in shipping and knew what he was looking for in a shipping partner.

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Ad Grinwis and Lara Lana (Cluster Top, Safmarine Central West Africa) admire the mountain of beans.

“It became clear that we needed local people with local knowledge,” he recalls. “The circumstances and challenges in West Africa are completely different to those in Western Europe. Safmarine’s roots in Africa, helpful and understanding approach, and knowledge of local issues have been a big plus over the last 10-12 years.”

Cocoa beans are a perishable commodity. Delays in port or on board can cause deterioration in quality that can ruin the texture, aroma and taste. This could result in loss of money and reputation for the importer.

“My job is to monitor the flock of containers floating around the world, and check for any unforeseen delays,” continues Ad. “And if there are delays, I call Safmarine to see if we can get a better connection to ensure the beans come in on time. Cocoa beans are extremely sensitive and at EUR 2.5 per kilo, it is a very expensive commodity.”

Close collaboration, a sense of ownership and regular and prompt communication has made Safmarine the shipping company of choice for ADM. As ADM grows, Safmarine will continue to partner and support them and work towards mutual success.

*The total global cocoa division of ADM has been acquired by OLAM Intl. in Singapore as of 16 October 2015.

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