Schoeller sells Bengal Tiger Line

One of the most famous names in the Asian feeder boxship market has changed hands. Schoeller Holdings has become the latest German shipowner to dispose of shipping assets, selling its majority shares in Singapore-headquartered Bengal Tiger Line (BTL) to an unidentified group of European financial investors.

The deal was arranged by Singapore financial consulting firm Transport Capital. Details of the transactions were not disclosed with Transport Capital’s founder Philip Clausius telling Splash today: “I can only confirm that BTL was sold and that we acted as exclusive financial advisors to the sellers. The buyers do not wish to be disclosed.” Clausius has been a non-executive director at BTL since January 2016.

BTL was incorporated in Hamburg in 1986 and transferred its registry and headquarters to Singapore in 2009. The company mainly operates around the Indian subcontinent, Southeast Asia and the Arabian Gulf, with chartered vessels, carrying up to 900,000 per year.

BTL has shrunk in recent years. Although its website claims a fleet of 33 ships, Alphaliner statistics show that it has a fleet of seven chartered ships, equating to a total of 9,936 teu. The other ships are ones that BTL co-loads on, but does not own or operate.

Following the disposal of BTL, Schoeller Holdings still controls Columbia Shipmanagement, United Product Tankers, and breakbulk carrier AAL.

Bill Smart, BTL’s long serving managing director, stressed that there was unlikely to be any great shake up at the line following the takeover.

“It’s purely a change of shareholders with day-to-day business much as usual. Management remains status quo as do likewise our services,” Smart told Splash today.

Jason Jiang

Jason is one of the most prolific writers on the diverse China shipping & logistics industry and his access to the major maritime players with business in China has proved an invaluable source of exclusives. Having been working at Asia Shipping Media since inception, Jason is the chief correspondent of Splash and associate editor of Maritime CEO magazine. Previously he had written for a host of titles including Supply Chain Asia, Cargo Facts and Air Cargo Week.


  1. Did my first trip as a cadet in a BTL ship. Tiger Breeze. Singapore-Mayalsia-India for 4 months.

  2. A legend.

    The “Tiger” was class in every thing that it did in an otherwise largely pedestrian and scrappy industry. Since 1993 when I met and knew JVDH and Bill while at Norasia, we not only reposed our faith in their service (albeit at a Few Dollars More) but developed a great respect for the brand, their people and service.

    The coming of the mega ships, alliances and the now amalgamations spelled doom as every every drop of blood was squeezed out of rates.

    But as the only constant is change, so too must this Icon give way. But ones memories will not fade – and I wish Joachim and Bill all the best.

  3. Goden Tag
    Mr. Heydt & Mr. Bills Smart, been with the BTL service usage for past 20y, the safe & giant service in subcon. Wish you all the very best since nothing is changed (except the ownership) so well the client patronage !
    Srinivasan. R
    Ex APL/APLL India.

  4. BTL revolutionized the Feeder arena by introducing Fixed Day sailings from Chennai Port during mid 90s using BRS, when the trade suffered due to severe congestion and inordinate delays. The port of Chennai and the trade will not forget the BTL era.

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