Being on guard duty during the best season of the year is not a desire media folks really stand in line for. But particularly this applies to journalists whose kids are not yet or no longer required to attend school, who live as a single person or because of other obvious reasons have to bite the bullet and go to work in July and August, letting colleagues enjoy vacations. For these subjugated folks Communication Chief Nils Haupt of Hamburg-based shipping line Hapag-Lloyd organizes every year a steamboat trip down- and upstream on the Elbe River, to brighten up their day. This wonderful event took place again last Wednesday.
Hapag-Lloyd sent out the invitation and more than 100 guests showed up at the quayside of Hamburg’s museum harbour, among them media representatives, executives of the port industry, members of PR agencies, forwarders, aviation managers and other invitees. They all stepped onto the deck of MS Bleichen, a 1958 built general cargo vessel belonging now to Hamburg’s Maritime Museum and operated by volunteer crews on particular occasions.
Well-known security institution
Among the many guests flocking the boat planks were the two Zielinskis, Harald and his wife Ulrike that had come from their home in Frankfurt to Northern Germany to attend the event.
Harald joined Lufthansa Cargo back in 1988 and over the years made a name for himself as security expert in the cargo landscape, becoming an institution known practically everywhere in the world, even in the maritime sector.
It was he who in his former role as Head of Security and Environmental Management at Lufthansa Cargo had implemented security surcharges in air freight, copied by many carriers thereafter and still in place today. This was a kind of a game changer, recalls Herr Zielinski. ”It has sharpened the awareness of not only the air freight but the entire transport industry for the importance of security.”
Thumbs up – or down
One of his many tasks was to check the local security regime at locations in Africa, South America and Far East, to determine if they qualified to be added to the global network of LH Cargo or if operating there would be too risky. In one (African) case he recommended to fly and unload consignments there but not to load a single pound on board a Lufthansa aircraft on the way back due to insufficient security controls by the local ground handlers and the lack of adequate technical means for detecting explosives or drugs.
A climax in his role as security expert he experienced 2010, when the U.S. Congress invited him to deliver a speech on air freight security at a hearing in Washington. An extraordinary acknowledgement since Zielinski was the only representative of a foreign airline speaking at the meeting. This was a kind of a knightly accolade for him and the German freight carrier.
From security to housing expert
Meanwhile, having taken early retirement, Lufthansa Cargo’s former “Mister Security” has become board member of a non-profit cooperating housing company in Frankfurt, initiated in the 1920ies by the local police. “Maintaining affordable housing, particularly for people with low income, is a social obligation to which I feel deeply committed.”
And how did Harald and his wife Ulrike enjoy the boat trip, including dining and wining on board the museum vessel MS Bleichen? “A great experience, we enjoyed every single minute. Kudos to Nils who organized this event perfectly.”
And he took the opportunity to say a few words to his former colleague at Lufthansa Cargo, who was in charge of the carrier’s corporate communications from 2002 to 2012: “Nils remains true to his values. He is innovative, creative, honest, friendly and straight forward in the way he communicates. Congratulations to the Hapag-Lloyd Group for having such a head of corporate communications.”