Can you give us a brief history of your company and your operations?
Trust Control International started its operations in Argentina in 2003 offering inspection services designed and developed to minimize the risks within the commercial commodities chain both in the local and international markets. Running the business successfully, the company has since become global with representative offices all over the world. The headquarters office in Switzerland will be re-opened in 2020. The Ukrainian subsidiary was registered in Odessa in 2007 and takes control of inspections in the CIS, Europe, MENA and Southeast Asia. Covering mostly the steel and agricultural industries, we are proud of having major producers and traders among our clients, taking care of cargoes not only at loadings but also at dischargings all over the globe.
What benefits do inspection companies provide for industry, particularly the steel industry?
Nowadays, against the backdrop of global political instability and protectionism, inspection companies help steel market players to feel financial security selling or buying products on a vast scale. It is not only about successful business operations but also concerns the quality of the finished steel products. The scrupulousness of inspection companies is of high importance as metal quality concerns each of us and our safety in daily life: we drive cars made of steel, live and work in the buildings with metal elements, etc.
What are the procedures you follow in product inspection?
A good beginning is half of success: thus a pre-shipment inspection is important, when the condition of a cargo is examined before loading on to a vessel. The physical condition of steel products must correspond to the contractual specifications. Descriptions of apparent damages, any rust, packing, markings and dimensions are to be carefully noted. The pre-shipment inspection allows the customers to have their own assessment of the goods and to take necessary precautions against insufficient packing, damages or markings if such is the case. Then follows quality and quantity inspection which includes supervision of loading/transshipment/discharge, monitoring of cargo storage/handling/stowing, checking of the mill’s test certificate, and tallying of goods. In some cases, additional color marking and/or labeling are required in order to easily identify the goods at the discharge port. Some countries require a specific labeling of the commodities which do not always comply with the mill’s labeling. There can be many other nuances and procedures to satisfy all the particular demands of a very exacting client.
How are you affected by the developments in the steel industry? How was the first quarter of 2020 and what are your expectations for the rest of the year?
The more vivid the steel market is the happier we are. We certainly benefit more in a bullish market when clients are optimistic and financially assured, and when shipments are big and regular. 2020 had started as usually and the first quarter was quite good until the world was hit by the Covid-19 virus. This of course influenced international business, including survey services. Each country is now fighting against the virus, closing borders not only for people but also for ships with different commodities. And now we have some clients whose ships cannot be berthed and cargoes cannot be discharged until the state lockdowns are over. Being involved in different industries (agri, food, etc.) gives us more security in the business. However, nowadays we are all very uncertain about our future because no one knows when this disaster will be over, what other measures against it can be taken and how they may impact on our daily and business life. Thus, it is very difficult to predict anything. We may only hope for the better: there’s always a rainbow after rain.
What do you think about the non-accredited firms providing services for the steel industry?
I think that this kind of company has always existed and will always exist because of lower prices for services. But it is always up to a client what to choose – security and safety for business and commodities or to play Russian roulette and take all risks.
In your opinion, what are the main problems in the inspection segment and what issues need immediate attention? Any final comments for our readers?
I guess that the main problem is the probity and reliability of inspection companies. First of all, this concerns the procedure for taking samples. It is extremely important to do it in the proper way for each commodity. Another problem which we meet rather often is certification without due inspection being carried out at all. The competition between inspection companies is tough, but each firm does not employ fair methods of work on the way to financial success.
To have a well-known name is never enough. Trust Control International is accredited by the main entities and authorities that govern local and international commerce, contracts, rules and methods. Our professionals follow continuous training programs and are equipped with state-of-the-art technology devices. Our Odessa office with our own accredited laboratory continues its development both intensively and extensively. In spring, we start making arbitration chemical analyses of ores, coke and metals using the newest ICP-OES which is able to handle even the most difficult, high-matrix samples without dilution. Good news for Turkish steel market operators is our intention to open an office in 2020 in this beautiful country, which is an indisputable driver of the world metal market.
Despite the global pandemic, we are working and defending the rights of our esteemed customers all over the globe. On behalf of our group, we hope your readers across the whole world will stay healthy and safe!