Yesterday I posted flippantly about Trafigura and reputation management but today’s post is serious.
I cannot see Trafigura’s public reputation changing for the better until they answer one key and long-standing question.
Internal email documents from December 2005 to April 2006 show that Trafigura knew that the waste which was subsequently produced on the Probo Koala was very difficult to dispose of:
email 18 April 2006
“We also still haven’t tackled how we will dispose of the washings on board the vessel washing the cargo.”
email 28 Dec 2005
“Caustic washes are banned by most countries due to the hazardous nature of the waste (mercaptans, phenols, smell) and suppliers of caustic are unwilling to dispose of the waste since there are not many facilities remaining in the market. There is a company in Rotterdam that burns such waste in a high stack chimney and charges are approx $200/kg and could have upto [sic] 1000kgs sludge after treatment operation. Under EU law you no longer allowed to transport such waste across EU borders.”
But in July 2006 the Probo Koala berthed not in Rotterdam but in Amsterdam where there was no facility to dispose of the waste in the way described in the December email. Also Trafigura accepted a quote of less than $30/cubic meter (i.e less than $30 for 1000kg).
What changed between April 18 and berthing in Amsterdam to turn a very expensive operation($200/kg) into one which Trafigura saw as routine (3cents/kg)?
In my opinion, Trafigura has not explained this massive change.
Trafigura said that the emails were taken out of context but without answering the question.
Trafigura said that they always comply with all laws and regulations without explaining how that applied to the Probo Koala’s waste.
Again, in my opinion, no amount of reputation management expertise will affect the public perception of Trafigura until this question is answered.
Once more I ask Trafigura.
How does Trafigura reconcile this difference?
I guarantee to print any Trafigura response in its entirety.