Antwerp: Founded in March 2004 and based in Antwerp, Belgian boxline Delphis has become among the leading sub-4,000 teu container specialists in the world.
Alex Saverys is in bullish mood when Maritime CEO comes calling. Having also recently stepped up to take over the reins from his father at bulk giant, Compagnie Maritime Belge (CMB), the 36-year-old has a lot on his plate, but as founder of Delphis he’s still got lots of plans on the container side.
Delphis has 14 boxships plus European feeder operator Team Lines as well as investments in European terminals.
“We have been and are expanding our container vessel fleet,” he says.
“Sub-4000 teu rates should improve during 2015, led by a small orderbook, healthy demand and improving time charter rates in the bigger sizes,” he insists, adding: “I see a big demand boost coming for the Eurozone: cheap oil, cheap euro and Draghi’s bazooka”, a reference to the president of the European Central Bank’s recent EUR1.1trn quantitative easing programme. The impact will not be immediate, Saverys says, but the second half of the year should see “nice” improvements.
Saverys has been and remains a champion of consolidation within the liner sector, something he has been linked to potentially aiding in the past.
“Consolidation in the container shipowning sector has happened and will continue,” he says. He reckons it will be interesting to see what the impact will be of the current round of 20,000 teu ordering on the balance within alliances.
“I’m not expecting any great shakes in 2015 as the liners will get a profitability boost by the cheap oil, the market needs to digest the new alliance setups and most of the 18,000 teu-plus fleet will only deliver end 2016 and into 2017,” he says.
Delphis, best known as an intra-European player, has been one of the companies most effected by this year’s introduction of emission control areas (ECAs). For Saverys, the ECA impact has yet to fully play out for shipowners, he reckons.
“1st of January 2015 came and 1st of January 2015 went and ships are still sailing around, so the market found a way to cope with low sulphur fuel,” he says. Low bunker prices helped with this shift, he says. “From a technical point of view,” he observes, “it’s too early to say what impact a prolonged consumption of MGO will have on the engines of 10-15 year old ships.”
Alex is the fourth generation of the Saverys in shipping, arguably Belgium’s oldest and best known name in maritime. [28/01/15]