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European shortsea fleet in urgent need of replacement

Hamburg shipbrokers Toepfer Transport have started issuing regular European shortsea reports. Among key takeaways from the first 14-page report, published this week, are the statistics on how old the average age of this niche fleet is.

About 50% of the European shortsea fleet is more than 20 years old, with Toepfer Transport suggesting 24% of the fleet will reach the end of their economic life in the next five to 10 years, needing replacement. The current orderbook is about 3.5% of the trading fleet.

“The imbalance between the rapidly ageing fleet and the low orderbook is even higher since vessels above 20 years of age tend to be sold to other markets,” Toepfer Transport pointed out.

The vintage nature of the European shortsea fleet was something picked up by Viridis Bulk Carriers last month. Viridis features ammonia fuel specialist Amon Maritime and two Norwegian shipowners – Navigare Logistics and Mosvolds Rederi – with aims to create a zero emissions dry bulk shipping company with a first ship on the water by 2024.

“With an average age of close to 30 years, the European shortsea shipping fleet is on the verge of a much-needed renewal process,” commented Jan Sigurd Vigmostad, chief investment officer at Glastad Holding and Mosvolds Rederi, on the launch of the new company 10 days ago.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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