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REVIEW | 2007-2008


“The heavy lift market is experiencing an unprecedented boom but it remains to be seen what the price of oil will be when this tonnage becomes operational.”


HLPFI (in 2008)


November/December 2008 issue: “The crisis in credit and capital markets is adding to the strains in many parts of the international trading community. But not, it would appear, to the same extent for those involved in the heavy lift and project forwarding business, where the double impact of diminished demand and contracting credit, which is affecting other parts of the international transport industry, does not appear to be choking investment.”


Shockwaves With the project forwarding and heavy transport sector avoiding most of the shockwaves that reverberated across the worldwide business community in 2008, there was no shortage of news and developments in the industry. While the oil price climbed to highs of USD150 per barrel by the end of the year, 2008 saw a number of lines either order or receive newbuild multipurpose vessels. HLPFI reported on Flinter’s plans to grow its fleet; Dockwise taking delivery of a new semi-sub; Intermarine receiving the first of an eight-strong newbuilding programme; as well as fleet upgrades from Chipolbrok, SAL and Cosco Shipping. In a telling statement in our May/June 2008 edition, we wrote: “The heavy lift


market is experiencing an unprecedented boom, but it remains to be seen what the price of oil will be when this tonnage becomes operational.” We also quoted one operator who


suggested that “all we can expect over the next few years is the unexpected”. There are few quotes that more aptly sum up the past decade (and perhaps the next one) of business in the heavy lift shipping industry. Growing competition in the


multipurpose ocean freight scene, from container and ro-ro operators, also made itself known in 2008, with Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics (WWL) ordering its largest ro-ro vessel and CMA CGM creating a dedicated breakbulk and project cargo arm. HLPFI also witnessed Safmarine enter the


Asia-West Africa trade; Scan-Trans change its ownership structure; German trailer manufacturer Goldhofer unveil its first trailer


with a payload exceeding 100 tonnes; Ocean HeavyLift become Offshore Heavy Transport (OHT); Smit reject a takeover bid from Boskalis; Almajdouie form a joint venture with Sinotrans; plans to construct a canal across South Korea fail to take off; and C. H. Robinson acquire Canada-based project forwarder Transera International.


Climate change Climate change was also high on the agenda of nations across the world. Alongside concerns over global warming, the increasing oil price began to drive a worldwide rush for renewable sources of energy, which translated into significant volumes of wind farm equipment and opportunities for companies offering specialist lift and transport engineering services – a trend that HLPFI has continued to follow throughout the decade.


September 2008: Lehman Brothers collapse August 2008: Beijing Olympics November 2008: Barack Obama wins US presidential election HLPFI10 | 9


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