A new generation of leaders has changed the self-perception in German shipping. Now it is no longer a matter of being the biggest at any cost, Alexander Oetker tells ShippingWatch. The changes come after a decade of crisis in the proud shipping nation.
Denmark, Germany and Norway have either shut down their borders or temporarily sealed off access to the countries in other ways in response to the corona outbreak. Large shipping companies are sending employees home.
Hamburg-based carrier Chemikalien Seetransport (CST) acquires all shares in the smaller tanker carrier Rigel Schiffahrts, which is headquartered in Bremen. "We are pleased to be able to expand our tanker fleet," says CST's Chairman about the takeover.
Consolidation among German ship management companies is far from over, says Christian Nieswandt, global head of shipping in HSH Nordbank. Only 20-30 will have the ability to survive, he predicts to ShippingWatch.
The traditional European financing model for shipping has collapsed, and it takes a completely different skill-set to raise capital today that, for instance, the German shipowners have been used to, Professor Max Johns tells ShippingWatch. Observers warn against the move toward Asia.
Requirements from authorities in China and the EU have made the conditions surrounding Maersk Line's acquisition of Hamburg Süd more difficult, says former Managing Director of Maersk Line in Latin America, Michael Kaasner Kristiansen. US-based Sealand could be a joker in the new Maersk.
Struggling German shipping banks have been locked in for years by expensive vessel contracts with management companies which have hindered the banks from selling out of vessels. This could now change, sources tell ShippingWatch.
Germany's new tax rules, which include a net wage scheme, have spurred heavy lift carrier SAL to return six vessels to German flag, the carrier tells ShippingWatch. "The rules are starting to have a certain effect," says the German shipowners' association.
After losing billions of euros on German shipping, HSH Nordbank is now voicing a renewed optimism about the maritime sector. "The cluster will be even stronger after the consolidation," Christian Nieswandt, Global Head Shipping, tells ShippingWatch.
German shipping group NSB has joined forces with Indonesia's Temasline to form a joint venture based in Indonesian capital Jakarta, thus growing its operated fleet to 96 vessels. None of the vessels are currently sailing under German flag.
Just as a wave of mergers and acquisitions has consolidated container carriers in recent years, the many German tonnage owners need to join forces. One of the premier personalities in German shipping, Claus-Peter Offen, tells ShippingWatch that he is ready to spearhead the process.
The culture at Hamburg Süd is born at the intersection of independence and an anchorage in the habits of a German industrial dynasty, among these not to open the doors to the public. With Maersk Line's acquisition, one question in particular becomes pertinent.