Hong Kong: Rates for handysizes are “horrible” says a niche Hong Kong shipowner and the sector is likely to go through its most painful year now as urgent scrapping will have to take place to get the small bulker segment back on its feet. Oeistein Harmens Thorsen is a director and co-founder of Fenwick Shipping Services, an owner of six small handysize ships.
He tells Maritime CEO in our regular Friday shipowner profile: “There is too much supply of tonnage and too little scrapping.” Thorsen says handysizes actually need a bad market for a while to get rid of all the overtonnage. He reckons that finally a lot of older tonnage will head to scrapyards in the coming months.
Fenwick tends to do everything in-house from commercial to technical management . The line focuses in Asia Pacific and Oceania, with a stong line of business in South Asia where draft restrictions play into its hands. Thorsen says there are no concrete plans to add to the fleet just yet, but ultimately the older vessels will be phased out with new ones. Of the six ships, two were built in the late 1990s, two in 2008, one in 2012 and one last year.
Thorsen was born in Norway, grew up in the Caribbean, worked on ships with the Norwegian navy before joining a Bergen shipowner. He then moved out to Hong Kong in the 1980s to work for Wheelock Marden. When legendary tanker owner Sir YK Pao bought out Wheelock Marden in the mid-1980s, Fenwick, a subsidiary of Wheelock Marden, became a separate shipowning entity.
“Fenwick has been in its present guise since 1985, but can trace its origins to early ‘70s,” Thorsen explains.
Amid these “horrible” rates, Thorsen is frank, admitting: “We will be suffering.” “We must find the right ports with the right draft restrictions to do business,” he says. “You can’t do with run of the mill cargoes, you have to find something special which is what we continue to do.” [13/06/14]
NEED TO KNOW: Fenwick Shipping Services
Founded in 1985 following the takeover of Wheelock Marden by Sir YK Pao. Small handysize operator focusing on Asia Pacific with six ships at present.