Two of the largest non-operating container shipowners have merged their chartering operations, creating probably the biggest exclusively managed tramp container ship fleet.
German shipowner Peter Döhle and Greek owner Costamare advised their clients in a 1 February circular that their chartering desks have now been integrated in a company called Blue Net Chartering. The official launch took place on 1 February.
Headquartered in Hamburg, Germany, the chartering outfit will be in charge of marketing a combined fleet of 220 container vessels with an aggregate capacity of 1.1 million teu, Blue Net Chartering said in its client advisory. The exclusive fleet includes technically managed vessels of Peter Döhle, Costamare, and unspecified third-party owners. Ownership and financials of all vessels involved will continue being handled separately by the owners.
Through increased scale, the partners hope to provide “best-in-class employment opportunites for container shipowners”, Blue Net Chartering said.
The launch of the Döhle/Costamare joint venture marks another milestone in consolidation of commercial management among non-operating container shipowners, apparently as a counterbalance to the rapid concentration among liner operators who charter their ships.
Döhle itself already farmed out chartering operations for all its small feeder ships into another joint venture, Ernst Russ Shipbroker, back in 2013. The latter oversees chartering of feeder vessels that had previously been marketed individually by Peter Döhle and former broking firms Stüwe & Co and Ernst Russ.
Focusing on mid-size and large vessels of up to 14,000 teu, Blue Net Chartering is likely to be the biggest exclusive chartering agent for container tramp tonnage, ahead of Hanseatic Unity Chartering – the joint charter brokerage of shipowners Asiatic/Atlantic Lloyd, Borealis Maritime, Leonhardt & Blumberg, Reederei Nord, and Bernhard Schulte.
Blue Net Chartering will be led by Niclas Ahrens and Sebastian Diedrich as managing directors. Ahrens has been working in corporate development at Peter Döhle, while Diedrich used to be chartering manager of liner carrier Hamburg Süd. He joined Blue Net Chartering when it was still under formation at the end of last year.
Leaving his position with Hamburg Süd was probably an easy decision for Diedrich following its takeover by Maersk Line at the end of last year. The Danes have made it clear that they are going to concentrate most operational functions, including chartering and ship management of Hamburg Süd, with those of Maersk in Copenhagen.