Hamburg: The heavylift shipping sector, which has been the scene of huge mergers and acquisitions in recent years, will likely consolidate a great deal more going forward, suggests one of the key names in the business. Toshi Yamazaki is the managing director of Hamburg-headquartered SAL Heavy Lift, a firm bought out by Japan’s Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha (K Line) in 2011.
“I believe we will see an increased amount of consolidation in the market – this has been an ongoing theme for the past few years, but the likelihood and the circumstances now, with the low oil prices forcing a lot of investments to either disappear or go on hold could likely speed things up,” says Yamazaki.
SAL’s current fleet size consists of 14 self owned and operated heavy lift vessels with a lifting capacity of 550 tons to 2,000 tons plus two long term time charter vessels.
Yamazaki is circumspect about adding more ships given current conditions.
“Today’s market,” he says, “is characterised by a large supply of vessels against a still modest demand worldwide. Speculating about timing is always hard, as there are so many influenting factors to when the right time for newbuilds is. It is certain that the current market offers favorable prices for newbuilds currently, however the newbuild program has to be matched with the expectations of what segments and strategy the particular vessel shall serve. I am afraid that a lot of the newbuilds coming into market currently are entering into a fierce market, where cost excellence is the primary driver to success.”