Dockyard catches up with Marc Van Der Zwan and picks his brains on his independent and dynamic business specialising in Oil Spill Equipment and Pollution Control and Clean Up
Marc’s passion and belief in what he does is evident and his ethics in working hard and caring within his business has successfully driven Zwanny to where it is today. Q: Tell us a bit about your background. Why Pollution Control, was it something you were actively involved in previously? ... A: In the late 1980’s I studied for an HND in Business (Marketing) but by default my first taste of proper mechanical engineering (outside of motor mechanical work) started working for a valve company which led to pumps from there diesel engines and generators both in UK and internationally. In the early 2000’s I started working with an oil pollution equipment manufacture and remained in this industry for many years. Although I did briefly work for an international waste management company I still had an eye on oil pollution, after that period I created Zwanny-ltd on the 31st of July2013 and the rest is a little bit of history.
What different products / services do Zwanny provide to their clients? ... A: When I started Zwanny I contacted one of the two manufactures I worked for and discussed the idea of becoming an agent for them based in The UK. They were not interested and so I got in contact with a number of “old” competitors to work with. Since that period Zwanny Ltd has been growing bigger each day. Zwanny have got three main area’s of business: 1. We offer inflatable and non inflatable boom systems being on reels, or racks or loose sections. This is used to contain a spill. To recover the hydrocarbons from a containment, we offer a number of skimmer systems and tanks for the recovered hydrocarbons including a range of pumps. 2. Absorbents and secondary spill containments - These can be pads or socks for on board a vessel or a marine absorbent boom that can be used in and around ports or marina’s. We tailor make spill kits and offer a range of SOPEP (Ship Oil Pollution Emergency Plan) kits.Secondary containment these are spill pallets, IBC spill bunds. 3 Waste management - This started when customers asked if having supplied absorbents, does Zwanny also collect them? Yes we can, we have got a waste license to do this work or other waste management requirements. These being IBC cleaning, interceptor cleaning, pond and lagoon clean ups and for a number of customers we are on standby if a spill happens that we can get out to them. Q:
Is there a main area that you feel Marine companies need to look at addressing when it comes to pollution prevention and/or response actions/kits? ... A: Yes, having the correct equipment, skills and knowledge on hand to do the job if a spill happens, whether that be marine or land based. I do believe in educating people on what to do should a spill happen as this kind of information goes a long way. I was in a marina not that long ago where there was a tank of fuel standing on stilts with the decking being open to any spill or leak in the tank. If that did happen the diesel could go straight into a river. Upon my suggestion, the tank was moved. We offer certified training at a number of levels for marine and landbased operations.
Do you still get your hands dirty yourself and if so, is there a particular job you like to get stuck in to? ... A: Yes, I do like to be hands on if needed and the commissioning of booms on hydraulic reels or a skimmer is great to see at work and in action. Whether at a port, landbased operations in heavy Industries (such as Tata Steel) or on the refineries. Q: Is it always your company doing the cleaning up, or are you qualified to offer any kind of training? ... A:
We work with a number of waste management companies who under the Zwanny banner would clean up waste stream from a customer, a Zwanny staff member would try to be on site as well to be certain that all is well and acceptable by the client. Yes, Zwanny can, if needed, provide training. Q:
Where do you envisage for your company to be in the future? ... A:
We are growing and have also got a number of overseas clients, so our aim is to keep this growth up. There is business out there ( even in Europe) but it is a question of knowing how to find it! We work well with the manufactures we use and we are here to stay as in July 2018 Zwanny will be 5 years old and the way things are going we fully expect to be here for the next 5 years and beyond. Q:
Do you think that Brexit could have an impact on your company and its success? ... No, because our UK customer base is growing and as we export in and out side the EU, the impact will be minimal and so it will be business as usual for Zwanny.