June 1 - Consolidation in the multipurpose shipping sector took a further step forward today with the news that Rickmers-Linie is set to take over Nordana Project & Chartering.

An official announcement stated that, effective July 1, 2016, the business will continue under the name and brand, NPC, and become an independent division supplementing the Rickmers-Linie segment within the Rickmers Group.

In the new arrangement NPC will operate a multipurpose heavy lift fleet worldwide ranging in deadweight from 8,000 to 21,000 tonnes, with lifting capacities of up to 500 tonnes. The core fleet will be made up of Nordana's 12,000 dwt heavy lift vessels and will include Thai-flagged vessels.

NPC will be managed by Lars Steen Rasmussen and Torben Reinhard and will be a separate entity within the Rickmers-Linie segment.

The takeover of NPC through Rickmers-Linie comes a year after Nordana Project & Chartering nominated Rickmers (Japan) as their sole general agent in Japan as a result of which NPC could considerably increase the number of calls at Japanese ports. In March this year Nordana nominated Rickmers-Linie as its representative in China.

Ulrich Ulrichs, ceo of Rickmers-Linie said: "Working together with NPC in our ventures in Japan and China has shown that we fit together really well, both product, and service-wise, as well as with the team spirit and working climates within our companies. We reviewed and soon agreed that we should expand our cooperation, which eventually led to Rickmers-Linie taking over the NPC business."

Lars Steen Rasmussen, the designated ceo of NPC added: "We are looking forward to further developing existing customer relations and developing new business for both companies."

In response to a previous announcement that Nordana Project and Chartering would be changing its name to Weco Projects in light of a long-awaited rebranding programme, a Rickmers-Linie spokesperson advised that this would no longer be the case and the short-lived Weco Projects would be continued as NPC as part of Rickmers Group.

However, Weco Projects ceo Johnny Schmoelker confirmed: "Weco Projects will continue solely as a tonnage provider for the projects market." He added that all of Nordana's commercial activities have now been handed over to Rickmers-Linie, as well as most of the commercial department.

As a tonnage provider, Schmoelker explained that Weco Projects will continue as owner and technical manager of four multipurpose ships - Billesborg, Brattingsborg, Ellensborg and Fredensborg - which it will initially charter out to Rickmers-Linie under the new agreement.

Schmoelker would not disclose the length of the time-charter, but he confirmed that Weco Shipping was "done" with the heavy lift and multipurpose sector, apart from as owners of the four ships. "There are no other heavy lift ships in our fleet," he stated.