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Vogemann: Pioneering green finance move leads latest issue of Maritime CEO

A new issue of Maritime CEO magazine launches today packed with the views of shipowners, industry experts and market analysts.

Jens-Michael Arndt, managing partner at famous German shipping company, Vogemann, stars on the cover, while the issue’s main feature drills down into what the industry’s perception of the term decarbonisation actually means.

Elsewhere there’s the regular market commentary, top opinion writers and the views of our readers on the popular back page section, MarPoll.

German shipping firm Reederei H. Vogemann sits front and centre of the issue, a company that has a history of coming up with novel ways to attract new business.

Tracing its origins back to Hamburg in 1886, Vogemann today is an owner, a manager and a broker.

In July, the company debuted a new way of financing, using blockchain-based Green Shipping Tokens to expand its fleet of bulk carriers.

The company is looking to raise $50m via this novel green financing method with minimum investments set at $1,000.

The raised capital will be used to purchase green geared handy bulkers.

In the end, shipping will not be able to decouple itself from climate targets

Vogemann data suggests that currently worldwide there are just two handy bulk carriers, which meet the highest requirements for CO2 emissions.

These requirements only apply to newbuildings that will be put into service from 2029. Both ships of the so-called Green Dolphin class were built for Vogemann and were put in service in 2019. These new ships, equipped with MAN engines, burn 40% less fuel than their predecessors.

Vogemann’s decision to invest in future-oriented ships is also in line with the company’s decision to use the still new financing instrument of a digital securities issue.

“The worldwide fleet of handysize bulkers is threatened with an extreme shortage as a large number of these ships are too old, too uneconomical and therefore no longer competitive,” commented Patrick Schütze, managing director of Neofin Hamburg G, which is overseeing Vogemann’s digital securities issue. “The purchase prices are currently at a low level. By acting with foresight, Vogemann is opting for an anti-cyclical investment and the oldest merchant’s motto in the world: the profit is in the purchase.”

On the Vogemann website, the company praises Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis for his countercyclical investments, something the German shipping line is keen to emulate.

The issue will run on the Ethereum blockchain. The issuance and investor platform www.greenshiptoken.com is based on Ive.One, which was specially developed by the Frankfurt-based FinTech Agora Innovation for issues of digital securities via blockchain solutions.

The so-called Green Deal created by Vogemann comes with 8% interest plus profit sharing for investors.

Arndt, managing partner at Vogemann, says the plan is to keep adding new green geared bulk carriers, taking the plunge while other owners remain by and large averse to ordering new tonnage.

“It is quite possible that the orderbook will remain at a historically low level for some time because the price ideas between shipowners and shipyards are simply too far apart,” Arndt tells Maritime CEO.

Arndt wishes authorities would better support the likes of Vogemann with their fleet renewal, which has seen investments focus on far improved carbon footprints for its ships.

“Unfortunately, we currently do not see any incentivisation of these efforts in Germany,” Arndt says, adding that the European Parliament’s recent decision to include shipping in the bloc’s carbon trading system is an “important step in the right direction”.

“In the end,” Arndt argues, “shipping will not be able to decouple itself from climate targets.”

As to the whole future fuels debate, Arndt is not laying down any bets just yet as to which way the industry will head.

“I believe it is very likely that even in 25 or 30 years from now merchant ships will still be powered mainly by diesel engines,” he says.

With regard to the fuel used, the prognoses are much more difficult to make, he says. “Ammonia is very toxic, which obviously causes major acceptance problems. With hydrogen it will depend on how sustainable the energy required for hydrogen production is,” Arndt points out, adding that he expects biofuels to gain in importance in the years ahead.

Splash readers can access the full magazine for free by clicking here.

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