Introducing: Charlotte Rojgaard
Can you please describe your career path and your position at BV?
I hold a M.Sc. in chemical engineering and during my time at university, I never expected to have a career in the maritime industry. My first job was with MAN Energy Solutions – a company that makes large marine engines – and I must admit that i caught the maritime industry under my skin. During my 14 years at MAN, I worked with emissions, primarily looking at how to reduce NOx (nitrogen oxides) emissions, and later with marine fuels and lubes.
These responsibilities relating to marine fuels and lubes got me involved with international standardization and industry guidelines through ISO and CIMAC (International council on combustion engines), international working groups in which I am still active. It was also through my network in these groups that I was introduced to the global technical manager of DNV petroleum services who asked me to consider moving to Singapore to work with him on marine fuel testing, to take over from him when he retired. It took some time to decide to move my entire family (my husband and two boys aged 2 and 8 at the time) from their familiar environment in Denmark to Singapore. Living five years in a different culture, heading teams in locations as different as Singapore, UAE, Europe and USA, was an experience that helped me develop personally and professionally.
It was during my time in Singapore that I was approached by BV’s Ewoud Kamminga (Global Director of Downstream Fuels). A few years earlier, he had successfully started a new business within bunker fuels. He saw opportunities in further expanding the business through fuel testing and needed a team to start this up. As such, I became the global technical manager of the VeriFuel program and later succeeded Ewoud as VeriFuel’s Global Head.
Having the desire to combine my technical experience with management and strategic work, I enrolled in the Blue MBA in Shipping and Logistics at the Copenhagen Business School in 2019 from which I graduated in 2021.
Over the last two years, we have been working on a reshaping of the Verifuel business to strengthen the services and support of our clients. We are looking into a very interesting future both for our team and the business prospects.
By focusing on New Mobility, BV helps various industries set the course for a new era of sustainable development. In your daily work, how do you contribute to the transition toward greener transport?
The maritime industry is going through a transition to a decarbonized environment, the scale of which is unprecedented. No one can manage this transition on their own – it requires collaboration between all parties involved, including authorities/regulators, engine makers/shipyards, ship operators and the entire supply chain.
The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has set decarbonization targets for 2030 and 2050, and increased awareness amongst consumers is also driving the industry. There is a lot of interest in the maritime industry to optimize efficiencies and explore new fuel types. Biofuel is an important stepping stone in efforts towards decarbonization and a good choice as a drop-in fuel that does not require CAPEX.
There are many different biofuel formulations and VeriFuel is actively supporting our clients through testing and advisory. We are also supporting clients by performing CO2 calculations for voyages.
Being a member of the ISO 8217 committee and secretary of CIMAC WG7 Fuels working group, my experience and knowledge contribute to industry standards and guidelines.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
That no day is alike. The maritime industry is conservative, but it is definitely not standing still. There are always new things to take care of, these days not least the important work supporting the industry in its efforts towards more sustainable transportation.
At the same time, I manage a global team of great people that are passionate about our products and creating value for our clients. What’s not to like?
As a female leader, what are some challenges that you have faced? What advice would you give other aspiring female leaders/professionals?
I am regularly asked this question and it is not my favorite one, to be honest. It implies that being a female leader comes with challenges. It may come as a surprise, but the only time I think about my gender is when asked the question. I can honestly say that I have always felt respected and appreciated for my knowledge and capabilities.
In my opinion, diversity should be a given - the person with the best qualifications for the job should be chosen, irrespective of gender, culture, religion etc.
Which advice would I give to aspiring female leaders/professionals? Be yourself and don’t focus so much on your gender. Work hard, be professional and treat people like you want to be treated yourself.