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BBC Chartering: Heavylift challenges and opportunities

Leer: In the summer of 2014 the ceo of BBC Chartering, Svend Andersen, stated that shipping remained a low return, high-risk business for owners. Moreover, he pointed out that the sector was in transition, recuperating very slowly.

Fifteen months on when Maritime CEO comes calling again, Andersen says with a market finding itself in an extended surplus situation, BBC Chartering could sustain its market-leading position as a multipurpose and heavylift operator.

“There’s still a visible capacity surplus in the market, which in turn leads to a [multipurpose/heavy lift] market where trading has become extremely short-term oriented,” explains Andersen.

Come 2016, Andersen says, his sector likely looks like suffering from further overcapacity but there will be opportunities, as the current backlog of business of the Germany-based operator suggests.

Andersen says owners are concerned about how much longer the current weak market may continue and when they can again expect dividend payments and earn their minimum returns on paid-in equity. Andersen claims on the other hand, that, as an operator not an owner, his main duty is to render engineered transport services which add high customer value, a value that nowadays unfortunately often gets undermined by low freight rates.

BBC Chartering boasts a vast fleet of around 150 vessels, but there’s no sign of further large-scale investment plans from the Leer headquarters as of now. BBC Chartering acts as an operator only, and therefore the fleet consists mainly of time chartered tonnage and ships taken on commercial management. “We’re currently not opting for any long-term time charter commitments with regards to large scale fleet expansion – or renewal,” Andersen says.

However, a new ecofriendly building program has been initiated in co-operation with core owning partners and other long-term business partners of BBC Chartering. The newbuilding program will take three new vessels with options for more. According to Andersen, the new ships will start to deliver in the first quarter next year, and they represent an ecofriendly forerunner for the multipurpose and heavylift segment. “As important innovations, the new vessels should feature significantly lower consumption values and improved cargo handling capabilities,” says Andersen.


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