People on the Move: Pankakoski leaves Konecranes, new Director at Everglades, changes at Transnet


Juha Pankakoski decided to leave Konecranes, Guenter Schmidmeir joined Fernride’s Board, Mia Pietarinen took the role of ConFoot’s CEO, Joseph Morris was appointed as Port Director at Port Everglades, Transnet has appointed Lekau ‘Solly’ Letsoalo as Group COO, and Mark Handin took the role of President at Patriot Maritime.

Juha Pankakoski, Executive Vice President, Port Solutions, and a member of the Konecranes Leadership Team, has decided to leave Konecranes to take a position at another company. He started in this position on September 7, 2023, and he will leave Konecranes in November 2024 at the latest. Konecranes will immediately start the process of finding a successor for Juha Pankakoski.

Juha Pankakoski

Guenter Schmidmeir, renowned for his expertise in the container terminal industry, joined Fernride’s Board. With a career spanning 25 years, Schmidmeir has held key positions including General Manager at Navis and Senior Vice President of Automation Sales at Kalmar.

ConFoot has announced that Timo Akela has sold the business to Mia Pietarinen and the NameH Group (owned by Heikki Lehmuskoski, Lauri Lehtoviita, and Veli-Pekka Niemistö).

Mia Pietarinen will also assume the role of CEO. Akela is retiring from operational duties, but he will continue to support product development and assist the new owner during the transition period.

The Broward County Commission has confirmed the appointment of Joseph Morris as Port Director at Port Everglades.

Morris currently serves as the Port Director for the Massachusetts Port Authority where he has worked for four years, originally as Deputy Port Director of Operations. He is expected to begin at Port Everglades on July 15, 2024.

Morris has worked with government authorities representing multiple countries including Costa Rica, the Netherlands, Denmark and Great Britain, and led teams responsible for planning vessel, rail, gate and yard operations for the largest container terminal in the US, APM Terminals Los Angeles.

Joseph Morris

The Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners has approved the appointment of Renee Moilanen to lead the Port of Long Beach’s sustainability programs as Director of Environmental Planning. She starts July 15, 2024.

Most recently, Moilanen was Director of Ports at Build Momentum, which specialises in developing campaigns for organisations working on transformative water, energy, transportation and manufacturing technologies.

She was previously a consultant for Starcrest Consulting Group, which helps conduct the Port’s annual emissions inventory.

The appointment brings Moilanen back to the Port of Long Beach, where she played a key role in advancing clean air programs as Manager of Air Quality Practices from 2014-19.

She also served as an environmental specialist, environmental specialist associate and communications administrative analyst during a Port career that began in 2006.

Renee Moilanen

Friedrich-Wilhelm Meyer has been appointed to represent the port of Rotterdam in Germany’s southwestern states.

Together with Wolfgang Schlegel, who was appointed last year, he will be responsible for the southwestern region of Germany. This will be the first time that two representatives are active for the port of Rotterdam in a single region.

Meyer and Schlegel succeeded Roland Klein, who held the position for the past nine years. Meyer has a background in the German automotive sector and held several logistics management positions in both Germany and the US.

Representing the port of Rotterdam, Meyer is concerned with further expansion of the network in the region and acts as the contact person for shippers, industry organisations, local authorities, carriers and freight forwarders.

Friedrich Wilhelm Meyer

The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) Board of Directors has unanimously re-elected Emanuele Grimaldi, President and Managing Director of Grimaldi Euromed SpA, as Chairman of the Board.

Grimaldi will continue to lead the ICS on key issues in the maritime sector including decarbonisation, increased protectionism, seafarer safety, and digitalisation. He will continue as Chairman for another term of two years.

Additionally, the ICS Board of Directors elected Metin Duzgit, from the Turkish Chamber of Shipping, as a new Vice-Chairman of the ICS, and Martin Kröger, CEO of the German Shipowners’ Association, was elected ICS Chair of the Marine Committee.

Emanuele Grimaldi

Transnet SOC Ltd has appointed Lekau ‘Solly’ Letsoalo as Group COO, with effect from July 1, 2024. Letsoalo, who will report to the Group CEO, will oversee the work of the Chief Executives of all Transnet’s Operating Divisions, as well as Group Safety, Security and Digital Transformation.

A former COO of Transnet Port Terminals (TPT), Letsoalo has spent 14 years in the private sector – first, as Managing Director at Aveng Manufacturing and more recently as Chief Executive Officer of Cargo Carriers Pty Ltd.

Meanwhile, Transnet SOC Ltd. has formally issued disciplinary charges against Pepi Silinga, CEO of Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA), along with several managers implicated in alleged corruption and ‘acts of impropriety’.

Mark Handin was appointed to the role of President at Patriot Maritime, replacing Lance Bardo who will retire at the end of June.

Handin joins Patriot after an almost 30-year career in various management, executive and corporate officer roles within Tidewater Marine and the A.P. Moller-Maersk group.

Handin will hold overall responsibility for the performance of the companies’ owned and managed vessels under Patriot Contract Services. LLC., and its American Ship Management, LLC subsidiary.

He will reside in Houston, Texas and oversee the company’s growing operational office in the Houston area.

Bardo retires after 13 years with the company, preceded by almost 30 years of service in the US Coast Guard. He will remain with the company through the end of June 2024 and will continue serving the company in a part-time consultancy thereafter.

Mark Handin

Jens Lorens Poulsen has moved from his position as Marcura Group CEO to assume the role of Chair of the Board.

Poulsen has served as Group CEO for over a decade. Henrik Hyldahn, previously the CEO of ShipServ, recently acquired by Marcura, has transitioned to the position of Group CEO.

After 27 years of service, Lutz Ehrhardt has decided to retire from his position as PhilaPort’s representative in Europe.

From his home city of Hamburg, he was The Port of Philadelphia’s liaison with ocean carriers, shippers, and government officials in one of the largest shipping markets in the world.

Ehrhardt will be succeeded by Uwe Gaede, who was ocean carrier Hamburg’s Süd’s marketing director in North Europe for the last 20 years.