June 11 - BHS Pool Weser-Ems is a new joint venture founded by shipping companies Briese and Harren & Partner to create a shipping pool for heavy lift vessels.
Initially, the pool will consist of 15 ships and be managed by the respectively connected affreightment companies BBC Chartering and Combi Lift.
"All involved vessels can expect to see higher profits as the freighters are concentrating on their respective core competencies", affirms Roelf Briese, CEO of Briese Schiffahrt.
"With the pool's affreightment companies being part of the shipping groups, they will show substantial ownership interest in the vessels' employment. Therefore, achieving sufficient freight rates will always be of highest priority to all parties involved," adds Dr Martin Harren, managing director of Harren & Partner.
An official statement by the joint venture partners states that the current heavy lift market is shaped by an oversupply of young vessels whilst the demand is recovering slower than expected. The resulting drop in freight rates is worsened by affreightment companies who do not have particular ownership interests in the vessels and are exempted from fixed repayment obligations by their banks as part of so-called "pay - as - you - earn" agreements.
Briese and Harren & Partner add that the pool offers ship owners a strategic concept for consolidation and, once established, will be accessible to other ship owners.
"The BHS Pool Weser-Ems is an interesting consolidation concept, representing a straight forward strategy for today's ship owners. At the same time, our freighting services are becoming more attractive for our clients, due to the bundling of knowledge and competencies as well as the advantages of a larger fleet", remarks Svend Andersen, CEO of BBC Chartering. "It is our foremost goal to achieve pool rates that beat the market on a regular basis. All involved companies are committed to this", Anders Poulsen, COO of Combi Lift in Denmark, agrees.
The two companies say that they see no alternative to the consolidation of the supply side.
Some readers may recall that Briese Schiffahrts and Fehn Ship Management said in April 2013 that a jointly executed strategy to 'shorten shipping capacity' should help to increase rates to adequate levels again, and add that they hope other shipowners will be inspired to follow their example to temporarily lay-up a share of the general cargo fleet, especially in the field of European coastal shipping.