Transferring to a new country: from Copenhagen to Dubai
J. Lauritzen has offices in five locations: Copenhagen (head office), Singapore, the USA, the Philippines and Dubai. This provides opportunities for our employees to experience life and work in another country.
Christian Elbæk was an Assistant Chartering Manager in Lauritzen Bulkers at the J.Lauritzen head office in Copenhagen, Denmark. In early August 2019, he was promoted to Chartering Manager and transferred to Lauritzen Bulkers' new office in Dubai. He has been a key part of setting up and opening the new office and has shared his experiences of the transfer so far...
How did the opportunity to transfer to a different office come up?
Christian: I had been wanting to have the opportunity to transfer to another country for a long time. Of course, you have to wait until the conditions are right: the transfer has to match the area you’re working, you need to finish your trainee qualifications, etc. Then when the decision was made to open an office in Dubai it was a good fit for me because it was a chartering role and because I talk to a lot of Dubai brokers.
What inspired you to take the transfer to another country?
Christian: I think it’s part of my personality: I like to move around and see new things. Plus the timing is good, as right now I am single and don’t have family responsibilities, so I think if there is nothing prevent you making a move, why not do it while you can.
In fact, I have always wanted to go to Brazil – I have previously spent some time out there and JL paid for some language tutoring so I now speak Portuguese. I would love to go there – maybe one day!
I didn’t know that much about Dubai before the opportunity came up, I was maybe a bit apprehensive at first, but my impression has changed a lot during the first few weeks because in fact there is a melting pot of many different cultures here and I like that atmosphere.
The other thing that inspired me to take the transfer was the opportunity to be part of starting a new office. You get a lot of authority and autonomy when you set an office up from scratch, plus you get to meet clients and work much more on business development - more than just day-to-day fixing, although I enjoy that too.
I also wouldn’t have minded going to Singapore – but our office there is already set up and established, so it wouldn’t be quite the same.
What were your first impressions of your new country – and of the new office?
Christian: I have only been here for two weeks, but my first impressions of the city were really good. From the outside, Dubai can look a bit superficial but in fact, it is a lot of fun and there are a lot of different people here from many different industries. That’s something you can really appreciate, more than all the new buildings. All nations, and a real mix of cultures.
What are you hoping to gain from this experience?
Christian: Professionally, I would love to gain a wide list of clients and customers – people that I have been able to build a stronger and more direct relationship with – more so than when you sit in Copenhagen. It is great when people are able to get to know you better – and then they prefer to deal with you going forward.