Rome: The recent improvement experienced in seafreight rates for tankers is helping some shipping companies to recover from their complex restructuring plans. It’s the case of the Rome-based Augusta Due, a shipping company founded in 1994 by the Brullo family and active in the liquid bulk market with a focus on Italian cabotage and short sea routes in the Mediterranean.
Raffaele Brullo, ceo of the company controlled by Mednav Group, confirms: “At the moment the market trend for our specific business of tankers is offering very interesting financial returns and that helps shipping companies like ours to solve earlier debt restructuring agreements signed with the banks.”
The seasoned shipowner started working in the shipping arena in 1971 and, following some partnerships and joint investments with other Italian groups (for instance with Mediterranea di Navigazione of Ravenna), set up his own company in 1994 purchasing five tankers in the first two years. But Brullo explains that the turning point came from 2000 onwards when Augusta Due decided to renew its fleet. Today’s fleet consists of 16 modern products tankers ranging from 3,000 to 42,000 dwt and built from 2000 to 2009. All the vessels are employed with time charter contract and COAs for first class oil companies and traders; in 2014 Augusta Due’s fleet performed 619 voyages transporting some 8.8m tons of oil products. As well as the Mediterranean basin some ships are occasionally deployed in some North Sea and Black Sea trades.
Brullo, looking back at the last decade, says: “The economic downturn in shipping, and more generally speaking in economics worldwide, put many companies under pressure and in the last seven, eight years it was hard to survive in such a challenging market context. Like many other firms also Augusta Due was obliged to restructure its financial exposure and, as a consequence, our current strategy is now to hold and consolidate the business respecting all the convents inked with the lenders.”
As a result the Sicilian owner stresses that today the shipping company he heads is mainly dedicated to “the best possible commercial employment of the fleet” and that “no investments in newbuildings are in the pipeline soon”.