Heavylift / Breakbulk
Change is a constant
There has been no end to takeovers and staff changes in companies in the heavylift sector recently. Difficult market conditions is just one of the parameters ruling the roost. In many a company the founding generation is handing the sceptre over to its successors, whilst others have seized the opportunity presented by the current situation to round off their networks and profiles.
Good old organic development still exists. Having gained a foothold in Laos recently, the Silamas Group, a Thai heavylift transport operator, is planning its next step and is now also expanding its activities into Myanmar. It has asked Patrick Dick, one of the industry’s most experienced old hands, to support its plans, and also recruited a local partner firm. The new Silamas office is located in Rangoon, which was Myanmar’s capital until 2005 and remains the industrial heart of the country.
The firm has been authorised to import extensive amounts of technical equipment, worth several million US dollars and including, amongst other things, a set of 56 modular hydraulic trailer axle lines. Silamas will also bring in the necessary human capital, planning to recruit experts from its corporate headquarters in Bangkok to help the process of training its local employees.
Dick already managed heavylift transport projects in the erstwhile Burma decades ago. Local clients have been lined up too, including Suntac Technologies, a Burmese construction company.
Expansion in Southeast Asia
The entire region is vibrant; the heavylift industry especially so. In mid-August the Deugro Group announced that it is taking over the Indonesian specialist P. T. Rolitrans. Having already expanded into Oman in 2016 the firm with a long tradition – it was founded in Germany in 1924 and is now headquartered in Pfäffikon (Switzerland) – has now taken the plunge into the Indonesian market.
The newly-absorbed company is no newcomer to the industry either. It was founded in 1982 and its 35 years in business have seen Jakarta-based P. T. Rolitrans gather plenty of experience in the national heavylift market, which will prove invaluable to its new parent company. Sven Hergemoeller, the Deugro Group’s executive vice-president, believes the takeover will prove to be a key strategic step forward in what he called “one of the most promising areas in the Asia-Pacific region.” P. T. Rolitrans’s facilities will remain operational this year, with staff and equipment gradually transferring to Deugro offices by the end of 2017.
The Rhoon-based Dutch Steder Group, in turn, is undergoing a similar development. Its ongoing activities in Southeast Asia formed the basis for the establishment of a subsidiary in Singapore, with the move officially announced in August. The new location, in what Steder has rightly identified as the “maritime and logistics epicentre of the region,” will be managed by Dirk Ghys from the Netherlands. Besides offering project logistics solutions, which will be managed in close collaboration with activities operated from the group’s Djibouti office, the group also wants to cooperate with a partner firm to offer its services as a port and ship agent, and in the chartering and brokerage fields.
New orientation through further staff
Other companies are preparing the ground for the next generation to take over top management roles. The advisory board and partners of Hansa Meyer Global, for example, recently restructured the entity. The Bremen-based German heavylift enterprise named Marc-Oliver Hauswald as a second managing director of the two firms Hansa Meyer Global Holding and Hansa Meyer Global Transport. Hauswald previously worked for Buss Port Logistics as well as Imperial Logistics International, amongst others. He took over from Oliver Rupps, who left the company early in 2017 and joined Seifert Logistics.
Whilst Henrique Wohltmann, appointed in 2016, remains first managing director, long-serving Jörg Knehe will retire from his position at the end of this year. Knehe, one of the founders of Hansa Meyer Global Holding 29 years ago and one of the firm’s managing partners, will become a member of its supervisory board in January 2018, and simultaneously continue to provide key inputs to the group of companies as one of its consultants.
The company Omers Private Equity is currently also instituting a complete change in management in the V. Group, a major ship management player both in the offshore as well as the ship supply segment and headquartered on the Isle of Man. In December 2016 Omers Private Equity took over a majority stake in the V. Group from former parent company Advent International. The V. Group will now be managed by CEO Ian El-Mokadem and CCO Martin Gaard Christiansen. Both of them will assume their new positions this autumn, with the changes due to be completed by early in the fourth quarter.
El-Mokadem will move to the V. Group from Exova, a material and structure testing specialist and consultancy, and was previously with the Compass Group, Centrica as well as Accenture. Christiansen, who has more than 25 years of experience with the A.P. Moller-Maersk Group under his belt, is joining the enterprise from Wrist Ship Supply, a service provider from the shipping and offshore sector.
The many takeovers and new faces in several firms in the industry show that the sector remains in a rather great state of flux, and continues to try to adjust to ever-changing market conditions. The modifications reveal the great potential for a new dawn – reflected in the decisions taken by some firms to venture into new regions. The brave will conquer new worlds.