Another leading employee from one of Denmark's well-known dry bulk carriers has opted to resign, allegedly again due to disagreements in management circles. This time the move concerns one of the two partners in Nordic Bulk Carriers, Christian Bonfils (right), who yesterday decided to leave the carrier. Nordic Bulk Carriers is primarily know for voyages north of Russia.
The two partners Christian Bonfils and Mads Boye Petersen (left) have built the carrier, which specializes in ice sailing, and Mads Boye Petersen confirms to ShippingWatch that Christian Bonfils is no longer part of the company.
Mads Boye Petersen did not wish to go into much detail about the events, though he stresses that the carrier will continue undeterred with the remaining partners, which in addition to himself include US-based majority stakeholder Phoenix Bulk Carriers.
Deficit last year
Nordic Bulk Carriers suffered a deficit of USD 2.1 million in the company's latest annual report. "Disappointing and far from satisfactory," said Christian Bonfils in a comment to ShippingWatch following publication of the annual report last summer, though adding at the time that the carrier would bet seriously on the niche business of sailing in ice-covered regions on the Northern Sea Route as well the Northwest Passage.
"It's been an incredibly difficult year. That's no excuse, but it's a fact. We've increased our focus on the ice niche market, and investors as well as customers have invested in new ice-class vessels, where we're switching our focus from Handysize up to Panamax. Disregarding 2013, we are fairly pleased with the strategy overall, but the conditions were very tough," he said, pointing out that the carrier's ships were generally too expensive while cargoes did not pay enough.
He said the following about the carrier's ambitions:
"We'll be the world's biggest operator of modern ice-class vessels in 2016, there's no doubt about that. It's a giant focus and we're allocating more people to the niche business," he said, describing this market as a core area. "The region is now covered in ice all the time, but we're trying to expand the ice season. Our core business is based on ice, and it wasn't when we started, but focus is moving increasingly toward this and to the niche business. We're gong to continue this process."
And about expectations for the coming fiscal year and whether the carrier would finish with a positive, Bonfils said the following last summer:
"Yes, we certainly expect to do so. We have clear expectations that the second half of the year will better in terms of the market, but - like everyone else - we're surprised by the first half of the year. We're making money in the first half and we're very pleased with that. We finished the first quarter in good form and the second quarter also looks promising."
Nordic Bulk Carriers took delivery of the first new ship in September from a series of six. The next three ships will be delivered in 2015 and the last two in 2016. Market rumors indicate that the price for an ice-class eco-design Panamax vessel was USD 30-35 million at the time when Nordic Bulk Carriers contracted the vessels.
ShippingWatch has tried without success to get a comment from Christian Bonfils.