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The von Appens expand in Copenhagen

The Chilean von Appen family operates approximately 120 ships within the gas and bulk sectors from its Copenhagen offices. And a further expansion is under way, board member in the group’s Danish companies Carsten Haagensen reveals.

The Chilean von Appen family is expanding its involvement in the Danish shipping cluster. New ships are on their way to the two Chile-controlled shipping companies located in Copenhagen and furthermore, Ultrabulk is establishing a new and bigger headquarters in the Copenhagen suburb, Gentofte, Carsten Haagensen, board member in the Ultranav Group’s Danish companies, tells ShippingWatch. Carsten Haagensen has known the von Appens, who have historic relations with the Danish shipping industry, for many years. According to Carsten Haagensen, the growth will be “controlled”. A significant expansion will take place within the gas sector which expects to receive five or six new ships in the years to come. The ships include two 6,800 cu m ethylene gas carriers, one 12,000 cu m ethylene gas carrier and two larger semi refrigerated LPG carriers of approximately 22,000 cu m. The company has an option of further gas tanker newbuildings.

Historic relations

“We are pretty sure that we will take delivery of at least five to six new gas tankers during the two to three years to come. Furthermore, Ultrabulk has recently handed in an order for at least three handysize dry cargo ships in a new ECO-design”, says Carsten Haagensen.

The von Appens’ relationship to Denmark dates back 50 years but it really gained speed and volume as the family bought Eitzen Bulk in 2010 which added the operation of 70 ships to the existing group’s bulk activities within the frames of what is today known as Ultrabulk. Ultragas, who changed its name to Ultranav in the beginning of September 2012, started shipping activities with its own tonnage in 1960 with the operation of what was then the world’s smallest gas tanker of just 90 cu m. Among other things, the company grew by buying second-hand ships from Danish KOSAN-gas. Ultranav’s interest in Copenhagen as the basis for the company’s international gas and bulk activities was further manifested in January 2012 as the company decided to gather almost all of its gas activities in Denmark. The gas company owns all of its approximately 20 ships whereas the lion’s share of the approximately 100 dry bulk ships is chartered.

Consolidation

“In the bulk sector we have carried out a consolidation combining the existing Chilean bulk activity and the Danish one. Therefore, the entire Ultrabulk company is managed commercially and operationally out of Denmark. Furthermore the company has been able to expand its palette as the original Chilean activities were mainly within the smaller bulk carriers, Handysize and Handymax. Combined with the Danish activities, Ultrabulk is now managing the full palette of bulk ships ranging from Handysize through Supramax to Panamax and Kamsarmax”, Carsten Haagensen explains before adding that the decision to gather the gas activities in Copenhagen underlines the group’s interest in the maritime cluster and trust to the maritime environment in Denmark.

Ultrabulk has ordered three dry bulk ships with an option of a further two. Therefore, the combined fleet managed from Denmark will be expanded significantly within the years to come.

Relocating to Gentofte

Today, 35 to 40 employees are working in the Ultrabulk office in the centre of Copenhagen but shortly, Ultrbulk will relocate to new and bigger facilities in Gentofte, a suburb nNorth of Copenhagen. In Gentofte, Ultrabulk will be the neighbours of another household name in the Danish shipping industry, the broker company, Lightship.

“We well get more room out there. The house is bigger than our present need but as I have indicated we expect a certain controlled growth in our Danish based activities and therefore we considered it interesting to purchase new offices in which we have the opportunity to grow”, says Carsten Haagensen.

Ultrabulk: Dry bulk in difficulties until 2015

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