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Breakbulk July 2020

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Recalculating… Intermarine recalibrates in face of softening Americas demand By Janet Nodar GIVEN THE ROCKY breakbulk and project market, US Gulf–based multipurpose/heavy-lift (MPV/HL) carrier Intermarine has dialed back its fleet size from eight to six ships since January, CEO Richard Seeg told The Journal of Commerce. Oil price volatility and the related pullback on capital investment are affecting cargo volumes, primarily on the onshore oil and gas side, Seeg said. Offshore effects will take longer to flow through the project supply chain. At the same time, the COVID-19 crisis has closed borders, hampering crew changes, while warehouse closures and work-at-home measures have slowed normal business flows. Some mines have closed, so volumes that normally support mining operations have also slowed, Seeg said. Nonetheless, cargo is flowing. Intermarine recently completed a shipment of 28 pieces of earth- moving equipment from Puerto Limon, Costa Rica, to Kingston, Jamaica, on the 8,400-deadweight-ton (dwt) Constant, and a shipment on the 8,400-dwt Color of 20 units of rolling stock from St. Croix, US Virgin Islands, to Intermarine's dedicated terminal in Houston. Intermarine's current fleet of multipurpose tween-deck vessels can call shallow draft ports and have combined maximum lift capacities of 400 mt. Intermarine offers weekly Friday cut-offs in Houston for sailings to Colombia, Trinidad, Guyana, and Suriname and biweekly sailings to Brazil. Ports en route are handled on inducement, according to the company. Budding partnerships A new commercial relationship between United Heavy Lift and Intermarine that started in April is going well, Seeg told The Journal of Commerce. Hamburg-based multipurpose/heavy-lift carrier UHL is able to reach potential Americas customers through Intermarine, while Intermarine, which does not have vessels trading outside of the Americas, connects clients who require cargo moves outside the region with UHL's tramp service. Rene Pedersen, director of chartering with Intermarine, will manage the relationship. UHL, which continues expanding its global reach, in late June nominated DUO Shipping, based in Istanbul, as commercial agent for Turkey. Managing partners Daghan Engin and Sertac Sari worked for Intermarine formerly and are well known to UHL management, according to a statement from the company. CEO Lars Bonnesen, who also formerly worked for Intermarine, said in the statement that UHL expects to increase its fleet of 900- type ships from nine to 17 sister vessels in 2021, and to add other vessel types to its commercial management. "In addition, our joint sailing agreement with Marguisa from Mediterranean and Europe to West Africa is going very well, and we will expand the service into East Africa as well," Bonnesen said. Thirty years of change Hamburg-based Zeaborn and Intermarine formed the Zeamarine joint venture in 2018. In 2019, Zeamarine took full ownership of the joint venture and retired the Intermarine brand. In late 2019 and early 2020, Zeamarine underwent restructuring and bankruptcy. As part of this restructuring, the Intermarine brand was resurrected and Richard Seeg was appointed CEO. Intermarine was started in New Orleans in 1990 by Richard Kavanaugh. Seeg joined the company in 1998 and worked in Korea and China before returning to New Orleans in 2020 to work on the Americas service. Intermarine will run its Americas Line service as it has been run "for the past 10 years," Seeg told The Journal of Commerce in an earlier interview, regardless of whether the carrier was configured as a standalone entity, working with former equity partner New Mountain Capital, or part of Zeamarine. It continues to operate out of its established New Orleans and Houston offices. The reinstatement of the Intermarine brand has been accepted "very supportively," Seeg told The Journal of Commerce. "I've been humbled by the support we are getting from customers, agents, and vendors." In a company statement, Seeg said, "Over the past 30 years we have seen lots of change within the market and our organization. However, ser- vice within our legacy trade lanes and dedication to our valued clients has remained constant and consistent." In May, the joint CaytransBBC service was dissolved, ending a partnership between MPV/HL carrier BBC Chartering and Dan-Gulf, the managing agent for Caytrans, that began in 2006. The Caytrans service operated between the US Gulf Coast, the north coast of South America and the Caribbean, accord- ing to Dan-Gulf's website. BBC Chartering has since announced a new Caribbean semi-liner service it will operate in conjunction with its two existing South American services. Ex-Intermarine sales director Fernando Maruri in February announced the startup of a new multipurpose carrier in the US Gulf, King Ocean Gulf Alliance (KOGA) Shipping. Maruri, who is CEO and president of KOGA, told The Journal of Commerce he expects to charter in vessels in the 8,000- to 12,000-dwt range through partner King Ocean Services, based in Miami. email: twitter: @janet_nodar

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