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Belships: Dry bulk pure play

Oslo: Norway’s Belships plans to stay focused on dry bulk. While in the past it has been a company with what managing director Ulrich Müller describes as a “mixed bag” portfolio, the concentration going forward is a “pure play strategy”, he tells Maritime CEO in our regular Friday shipowner profile. The plan is to grow the fleet and diversify the customer base, says Müller.
Belships, headquartered in Oslo, with offices in Singapore, Shanghai and Tianjin, has been stocklisted in Oslo since 1939. The company is an owner/operator of dry bulk vessels, focusing on the supramax segment. The Tidemand family is a strong supportive shareholder.
The current fleet consists of three 58,000 dwt supramax vessels built between 2009 and 2011 fixed on 10-year time charters to Canpotex from delivery.  In addition the owner has signed newbuilding contracts for two 61,000 dwt supramax vessels for delivery from Imabari Shipbuilding in Japan from the end of 2015 to the beginning of the following year. The one non dry bulk ship that Belships operates is a long term chartered-in product tanker which has a purchase option.
On prospects for 2014, Müller reckons a further improvement in market fundamentals seems likely.
“A declining rate of newbuildings coming into the market combined with a robust growth in seaborne dry bulk trade should result in a further improvement of average capacity utilisation in 2014,” he says, adding: “We anticipate stronger rates to prevail from second half of 2014 with Chinese iron ore imports increasing significantly.”
As a useful lesson to other owners, Müller notes, “Every downturn is a reminder that you need to have a balanced portfolio in terms of charter party duration and quality counterparts.”  [24/01/14]
NEED TO KNOW:  Belships
One of the best known names in Norwegian shipping, listed in Oslo since 1939, Belships has ditched its former preference of having a mixed fleet in favour of focusing almost exclusively on dry bulk. Has just one product tanker on charter, the rest of the fleet made up of supramaxes. Keen to grow in size.


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