While new cases of bad bunker seem to have come to a halt, existing cases are still causing headaches among shipowners, charterers and suppliers, says Mathias Steinø, partner at firm Hafnia Law, to ShippingWatch.
BBC Chartering has had to pay large extra costs for tug boats as well as having several ships cleaned after tanking contaminated bunker. CEO Svend Andersen says that the project cargo carrier is among the hardest hit in the widespread cases related to the damaging bunker.
One decisive factor contributes to a small recovery in the hard-pressed heavy lift segment. But the rates need to increase by 20-40 percent before the market can be described as healthy, says the CEO of the world's second-largest project cargo carrier, Svend Andersen, in an interview with ShippingWatch.
Entering 2018, China's Cosco took the position as the world's largest multipurpose carrier in the crisis-stricken sector, while the Stadil family's Thorco Projects is shrinking its fleet, shows a new review.
Unprofitable multipurpose vessels, which German banks are left holding, are being moved around big-time among shipowners. "We're basically competing against zombies these days, which exist with continuing support from the banks," says one market player.
The German multipurpose carrier has experienced a decline in cargo volumes in Asia by almost one third in the first months of the year. "We are preparing for a tough year," COO Henrik Pedersen tells ShippingWatch.
Germany's BBC Chartering expanded its fleet significantly over the last six months of 2016, during a time in which the multipurpose market has been historically weak. The Stadil family's Thorco ranks at third-largest in the world, according to calculations form Dynamar.
In December, the two major Dutch banks ING and ABN Amro forced the first large-scale consolidation through in the ailing multipurpose sector. Now the market is waiting on what the banks will do next in the German hub for specialized vessels. Drewry eyes slight improvement in late 2017.
Banks including ING and ABN Amro are demanding compulsory sales of more than 20 Dutch-controlled multi-purpose vessels after cancelling loans to the vessels. ABN Amro has now cancelled the credit to Abis Shipping's fleet of more than 12 ships.
Extensive consolidation in the global heavy lift industry is underway and will presumably materialize in the coming months, several industry sources tell ShippingWatch. Heavyweights BBC Chartering and SAL Heavy Lift can play a key part in the resolution of the ailing industry's future.
While the competition keeps talking about the crisis, BBC Chartering projects another positive result this year, a fact the company has kept to itself so far. One of the carrier's strengths is the many offices working closely together, the Managing Director for Asia tells ShippingWatch.
It looked like a huge boom for project and heavy lift vessels in the first half of 2015 but the freight volumes trickled right out of the market, says Svend Andersen, CEO of BBC Chartering, the world's largest operator in the segment.
Den lave oliepris får energiselskaberne til at holde igen med investeringer, hvilket er dårligt nyt for multipurpose-segmentet, der ellers ser ud til at nyde godt af en vækst i efterspørgsel på transport fra 2016, vurderer Drewry.
The low oil price could force even more operators in the North Sea to decommission oil rigs and platforms, according to Clarksons. The winners could be the offshore carriers and the heavy-lift sector, as they could gain a whole new market.
The first months of 2015 have started in far more stable form than the last 3-4 years for BBC Chartering, but the duration of the improvement in multi-purpose and heavy-lift is fragile, CEO Svend Andersen tells ShippingWatch.