Time for a check up
Worldwide marine medical supplier and registered pharmacy Lagaay International has developed a reputation for excellence since pharmacist Abraham Albertus Lagaay founded it in Rotterdam in 1879.
Originally operating under the name Pharmacy Lagaay, the company’s strategic location in the Port of Rotterdam led to an expansion into the marine industry through the provision of medicines and medical equipment to operators and charterers working in the area. As the marine industry developed over the last century, so too did Pharmacy Lagaay as it expanded its services to meet the needs of customers across the globe. Officially founded as Lagaay International BV by its new shareholders in 2000, the company was split from the regular pharmaceutical part of the business in the same year, which thus enabled it to completely focus its attentions on opportunities within the marine sectors.
“Back in 2000 we had the regular pharmacy and Lagaay International BV, however in 2012 Pharmacy Lagaay ceased to exist. In 2001 my shareholders also acquired Mediscore, a medical supply company that was supplying to businesses in the greater Rotterdam area. Mediscore was actually also supplying to ships via ship chandlers and agents, so you could argue that they were actually a competitor of Lagaay International. Following this development, my shareholders acquired another company a couple of years later called Havena BV, which produces any kind of first aid kit; the three companies were put together into one holding, operating from Rotterdam. At the beginning of this year we merged Mediscore together with Havena, whereby the name Havena ceased to exist. So today Lagaay International operates as part of the Lagaay Group, providing everything medically related on the sea, while Mediscore provides all medical products on land and produces first aid kits,” explains managing director Joris Alberda.
Strengthened by its 130 years of operational experience and the acquisition of complementary organisations, Lagaay International benefits from a strong presence in areas such as Norway, Denmark and Holland, and also enjoys successes in the UK. However, as the shipping industry in Europe continues to recover from the economic slump in 2008, the company has also witnessed an increased level of interest from the thriving Asian region, as Joris highlights: “Traditionally, demand has mostly come from the Northern European area, but what we are seeing at the moment is that we are getting requests from all over; a notable area is Singapore, where we have been getting more and more business over recent years.”
Key to the ongoing demand for Lagaay International’s service is its commitment to securing health and safety on board through the provision of high quality products and an unrivalled service. Adaptable to market changes, the company has recently responded to an influx in enquiries regarding Ebola with the production of a Lagaay Ebola precaution kit for its clients. “During the summer of 2014 we had a meeting about what we should do, if anything, about the Ebola crisis, but we felt that the disease was/is mainly present on the mainland of Africa. However, after the summer we began to receive a lot of requests from clients sailing to the west coast of Africa; to meet this demand we created an Ebola kit, which contains Ebola suits, goggles, shoe covers and so on. We have seen that for a lot of offshore and shipping companies it is a psychological purchase to give the crew a feeling of security. ”
Moreover, the company is currently in the process of setting up a new website to help clients keep track of their onboard medical stock. Due to be completed in the first quarter of 2015, the free of charge Medical Care System (MCS) service will remove the burden of managing medical stock for customers, and will enable Lagaay to consolidate the ordering of medical supplies to one stock-up order per year.
Although it is anticipated to be hugely beneficial to clients once it is fully operational in 2015, Joris believes the MCS will also provide Lagaay International with opportunities to meet the needs of new customers that were previously logistically impossible to serve. “We send packages all over the world on a daily basis, but the logistics of medicine is always a tricky business in the sense that there are still certain regions around the globe where it is impossible to get medicines in to or it is extremely expensive. Sometimes I have to say no to clients because I just cannot supply the products they need in a certain region; that has always been our biggest challenge. Having said that, we are able to service 90 per cent of the major ports worldwide and we have a global network of local partners that can help our clients when supply from Rotterdam is not possible or to short notice. We try to plan as much as possible with our clients to order in advance, and we hope that the medical care system also helps with this advanced planning so we have less issues of medicines not being on board because we could not supply. There are still a lot of ships and rigs that we are not yet supplying, which we see as a big opportunity for growth,” he concludes.
Services:m Global medical supplier