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F.lli d’Amico Armatori: Innovation challenge for tankers

In the near future for liquid bulk business there will be two main challenges: a likely downturn in freight rates and innovation technology for the new ships, according to Carlo Cameli, managing director of Fratelli d’Amico Armatori.

“The industry is still suffering a lot due to the excess of tonnage supply existing in almost every segment of the maritime transport business,” he tells Maritime CEO, explaining that owners were too tempted by the very low newbuild prices on offer from Asian yards.

“After 18 months with pretty high returns for tanker rates,” Cameli says, “we expect a slowdown of the daily rates before the next year, since many new ships will be delivered and come onto the market in the next months.”

Fratelli d’Amico Armatori is a company still fully owned by the d’Amico family and controls a modern fleet of six vessels: two LR2s, one aframax and three suexmax tankers. Some of them are managed in pools and some are fixed with long-term contracts reflecting the very prudent approach of this traditional owner.

Mercifully, the Fratelli d’Amico’s managing director is happy that new tanker investments have been minimal this year so far.

“As for the new orders signed in the first half of 2016 you can count them on the fingers of one or two hands and that’s bad news for shipyards but a very good one for the owners as it may represent the start of a new cycle of growth,” points out Cameli.

Very few investments in new ships combined with a high rate of ship scrapping would be the optimum even if the seasoned Italian manager is afraid that the current low prices offered by shipyards are likely to find some companies interested at ordering further tonnage.

Turning to technology innovation, Cameli says: “With the carbon tax coming into force sooner or later we’ll see an increasing number of ships with LNG propulsion. Furthermore since GPS is also rapidly evolving towards new tools I foresee some big changes for navigation. It’s likely for instance that the number of seafarers required onboard the ships will decrease constantly.”

Cameli concludes: “Those companies able to mix in the best viable way new technologies and experience in shipping will be the winners in the market.”


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