Digital Edition

Breakbulk February 2020

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 3 of 23

4 The Journal of Commerce | Februar y 2020 Editorial February 2020 Janet Nodar Breakbulk and Project Cargo Executive Editor, The Journal of Commerce and JOC Events: Chris Brooks 609 649 2181, Executive Editor, The Journal of Commerce and Mark Szakonyi 202 872 1234, Managing Editor: Benjamin Meyer 916 716 6272, Associate Managing Editor: Kevin Saville, 212 488 4282, Senior Editors: William B. Cassidy Trucking and Domestic Transportation 202 872 1228, Bill Mongelluzzo West Coast 562 428 5999, Hugh Morley Northeast, Mexico 646 679 3475, Eric Johnson Technology 213 444 9326, Janet Nodar Breakbulk and Heavy Li 251 473 2742, Greg Knowler Europe +44 7976798770, Turloch Mooney Global Ports +852 9011 9109, Ari Ashe Southeast Ports, Intermodal Rail 202 548 7895, Data Analyst: Marcin Lejk +44 587416270, Shipper Engagement Manager: Dustin Braden 646 679 3450, Senior Content Editor: Alessandra Gregory Barrett, 860 248 5238 Senior Designer: Sue Abt, 862 371 3534, Designer: Bryan Boyd, 908 910 7849, Publisher: Tony Stein, 770 295 8809, Sales: Cindy Cronin, Senior Strategic Account Manager Southeast, Gulf, Canada sales, 954 260 6061 Jean Gibbons, Senior Sales Executive West Coast, Midwest sales, 706 469 7160 John Knowles, Senior Sales Executive Europe sales, +44 7779974677 Allyson Marek, Senior Sales Executive Northeast sales, 862 754 8012 Alex Remstein, Associate Sales Specialist Reprints/Classifieds/Copyrights, 646 679 3418 Mehdi Smaili, Senior Sales Executive, Asia sales, +44 7581406491 For Magazine Subscription Customer Service: 450 West 33rd St., 5th Floor, New York, N.Y. 10001 800 952 3839 Vice President, Maritime & Trade, IHS Markit, Peter Tirschwell Executive Director, Media & Events, Maritime & Trade, IHS Markit, Amy Middlebrook Manager, Production, Carmen Verenna Product Manager, JOC, Jesse Case ©2020 The Journal of Commerce — All Rights Reserved For more information, visit our website, functioning operation — that's very tough." Combining a traditional liner ser- vice like Rickmers Line, with its high overhead, older ships, and entrenched sta , with a bespoke project carrier such as Intermarine was destined to be a challenge. "These require very di erent organizations," said another source. "You are no longer booking cargo from A to B. You are entering a di erent risk arena." Operating in the project sector takes very specifi c skill sets, from chartering to operations to engineering, he said. Another industry executive expressed concern about the uncer- tainty and the potential personal pain the situation creates, while also pointing out a fundamental quan- dary underlying the entire MPV/ HL sector: Ships change hands, but the fl eet remains the same size. And entrenched overcapacity is stubbornly unhealthy for carriers. "It's a pity to see them coming to [this]," the execu- tive said. "You can argue it will lead to more consolidation, but at the end of the day it's all the same ships." Of course, it's possible the situ- ation at Zeamarine is salvageable or — at the very least — less serious than it appears. Lundehn is a well-known expert in restructuring, having pre- viously assisted with the insolvency of heavy-lift carrier Beluga Shipping. Even so, it is di cult to assess the sit- uation confi dently from the outside. Ironically, even as Zeamarine struggles, there are some signs of an improving market. Maritime consul- tancy Drewry expects time charter rates for the MPV/HL fl eet to increase by an average of 6 percent in 2020, thanks to steady 2.1 percent growth expected across the entire dry cargo sector. IHS Markit, parent company of The Journal of Commerce, supports a mildly upbeat growth perspective, noting in a recent update that a move toward trade policy reconciliation o ers some relief from business uncertainty. email: twitter: @janet_nodar THE MULTIPURPOSE/HEAV Y-LIFT (MPV/HL) community has been disconcerted — to put it mildly — by recent events at Bremen-based carrier Zeamarine. Within just a few days in early December, CCO Dominik Stehle suddenly resigned, crisis expert Sven Lundehn took over day-to-day management of the company, the executive board was relieved of its responsibilities, and founder Jan-Hendrik Többe departed (see "Moving on," p. 18). As this issue of The Journal of Commerce was going to press in late January, the carrier had not made any public statements beyond a terse pre-Christmas mes- sage decrying the media coverage it had received while insisting Zeama- rine remains an active organization that will meet its commitments. Zeamarine's fl eet comprised between 70 and 80 ships in early 2019, one of the largest in the MPV/ HL sector. As of mid-January 2020, the carrier had let go of at least 15 ships, according to European press reports, including several new F-types built by and leased from Chinese shipyards. These vessels are being picked up by competitors such as BBC Chartering and UHL, according to the reports, and more vessels are on o er, including four "R-series" ships and fi ve newer "S-series" vessels, according to indus- try news outlet Shipping Watch. Although MPV/HL owners and operators transfer ships among themselves regularly, it would seem beyond ingenuous to chalk these moves up as "business as usual." In conversations with a wide array of industry sources about what may have gone wrong, a basic theme has emerged. Despite Zeamarine's rapid and ambitious growth, to many observers, the carrier has lacked a clear business model or strategy. "They bought all di erent vessel types and tried to combine them when they were very far apart in terms of market o ering and culture," said one industry source. "To grow from 13 ships to 80 ships in two years — incorporating so many ships in a short time and creating a Uncharted waters

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Digital Edition - Breakbulk February 2020