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ANALYSIS | ON THE OCEAN: PART TWO


MULTIPURPOSE FLEET MAKE-UP


Dirk Visser, senior shipping consultant at Dynamar, provided an overview of the current multipurpose fleet compared with 2010. Eight years on the market looks very different. Positions one through three remained unchanged


although Cosco’s deadweight increased by nearly 50 percent, while the BBC Chartering armada almost doubled. Notable absentees from the 2018 list include the now


defunct Belgua; TBS, which has become a pure bulk operator; Clipper Projects, which merged with Thorco Shipping; while the current IRISL and Rickmers Line fleets are no longer large enough to make the top ten. The five operators taking their places in 2018 are Thorco


Projects of Denmark; AAL, operating a core fleet of 14 ships; Intermarine USA, with 15 ships, has the industry’s largest orderbook; MACS, which recently acquired Hugo Stinnes; and PACC Line. “Between 2010 and 2018, the heavy lift capacity of the top


ten fleet nearly doubled from 58,000 tonnes to 115,000 tonnes. The number of ships in all heavy lift categories (tonnes) was significantly higher too,” said Visser. Maybe most significantly is that despite a lack of cargoes


and increasing competition from other shipping sectors, the number of ships operated by the sector’s top ten has remained relatively unchanged. (See tables below)


Photo credit: Panama Canal Authority


Line, said: “Unchecked capacity growth in the container industry has pushed those carriers to seek out additional cargo from the bulk and breakbulk sectors, drastically reducing rates on oversized cargo despite having no knowledge nor expertise in handling it.” Trond Sjursen, chief commercial officer at Höegh


Autoliners, added: “Looking at where investments go on the supply side, there are not many signs of recovery in the conventional multipurpose vessel segment, while heavy lift and ever more capable pure car and truck carriers (PCTC) seem to be winning the upper and lower end of the heavy lift segment.”


A huge swathe of heavy lift and multipurpose tonnage is


effectively owned by the banking system. Arrested tonnage is rarely scrapped and has often been returned to the market. Grikitis highlighted that the MPV market has “not been able to self-correct. Until the banking system takes significant action it’s not going to correct.” Competition from other shipping modes – particularly


ro-ros, bulkers and containerships – has been a recurring theme post 2008. Distress in their respective sectors has seen carriers target heavy lift and project cargoes in a bid to prop up diminishing returns. Andrew J. Abbott, president and ceo of Atlantic Container


RANK 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9


10 58 | HLPFI10


OPERATOR Coscol


BBC Chartering Spliethoff Beluga


Swire Shipping TBS


Chipolbrok


Clipper Projects IRISL


Rickmers Line


SHIPS 70 93 44 51 21 22 22 45 32 13


ON ORDER 7


46 15 31 -


5 5


12 8


14 ABOVE: Dynamar’s breakbuk operator ranking (by deadweight) from the first quarter of 2010.


Severe pressure Tis combination of variables has put severe pressure on multipurpose freight rates, a fact compounded by shippers becoming ever more price driven. “Tis is one of our biggest disappointments. Despite offering a first-class service, you still get very low prices. We offer a limousine service and get paid for a bicycle ride,” said AAL’s Panayides. Te result, according to Grikitis, is a multipurpose sector in


which the fleet supply/demand dynamic remains unbalanced. He said that collateral issues relate to service levels due to the reduction of personnel in the sector. “When you have to cut expenses, you have to expect more work from fewer people to


RANK 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9


10


OPERATOR Cosco SSC


BBC Chartering Spliethoff


Thorco Projects AAL


Chipolbrok Intermarine MACS


PACC Line Swire Shipping


SHIPS 64


146 48 48 21 20 43 13 15 16


ON ORDER 1 1 6 - - -


15 - - -


ABOVE: Dynamar’s breakbulk operator ranking (by deadweight) from the first quarter of 2018.


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