Heavylift / Breakbulk
BBC Chartering is managing to hold its own in the demanding heavylift market. CEO Svend Andersen is convinced that BBC’s status as a family business is an advantage and is looking forward to personal meetings at the Breakbulk Europe trade fair in Bremen.
The market is struggling and facing many challenges, isn’t it, Mr Andersen? How does BBC Chartering deal with this?
Despite the positive overall conditions the market is sending out mixed signals. Bookings in Europe and North America have been a bit becalmed of late. On the other hand, we’re experiencing growing demand in Asia and South America. On the supply side, consolidation is still in full swing, with intense competition. We bank on our good services and the trust of the markets to remain in the game.
Last year saw some upheavals in the industry. To what extent is BBC Chartering feeling the effects?
Adjustments are natural processes in all markets and important for them to become more stable. BBC Chartering is an owner-managed family enterprise whose orientation is based on clear economic targets – but not on short-term figures. This is a distinct advantage in the rather unplannable, spot-market-oriented project and heavylift cargo business; it simultaneously also helps to keep a perspective on the firm’s long-term development.
Last autumn, BBC Chartering launched a service between the Persian Gulf, India and Australia. How has this developed?
The service is based on an order for the regular shipment of railway wagons to the Australian state of Queensland, which is replacing most of its passenger trains and has recruited us as its shipping partner for the project. This order requires us to organise regular departures for 18 months, which simultaneously provides attractive shipping options for other customers on this route. Since we also respond flexibly to spot calls on inducement, utilisation has been very good.
The global economy is cooling somewhat. How do you expect the heavylift market to develop this year?
At the moment it’s rather difficult to look further than two to three months into the future. Growth is dominated by Asia, but the region remains strongly oriented towards spot markets. The wind energy industry is an important demand driver for us, as is the global trade in steel. In the medium term we expect the oil and gas business to provide a fresh impetus.
Tell us a little about the composition of BBC Chartering’s fleet, please.
We have vessels ranging from 4,300 to 56,000 dwt capacity, with our fleet also including lifting capacities up to 1,400 t. Our total fleet capacity comes to approximately 2 million dwt, which not only means we now offer the market around 20% more tonnage than we did last year, but also makes us the market leader. Our tonnage productivity has also risen slightly, which is satisfying.
How did the market respond to your new service, called ‘BBC Yacht Transport’? Is it a part of your diversification strategy or more of a marketing move?
We already transport yachts, of course, but what’s new now is that through ‘BBC Yacht Transport’ we manage our own sales channels and offer yacht owners, managers, manufacturers as well as brokers comprehensive services in this segment. The market has responded positively to our new service and made good use of this opportunity to do business in the segment with a quality brand.
The Breakbulk Europe trade fair is taking place in Bremen, which is BBC Chartering’s home turf. What do you expect from the event in May?
Personal contacts frequently tend to play second fiddle in today’s high-speed world; we prefer to focus more on direct meetings. The trade fair in Bremen is an excellent place for this, of course, with many representatives from the heavylift industry coming to the northern German port city for the meeting.
The fair is therefore a really good oppor- tunity for us to get to know new players, as well as to simultaneously strengthen existing relationships. We’re really looking forward to the Breakbulk Europe trade fair in Bremen and to meeting as many old acquaintances and new partners there as possible.