Clipper will in the future concentrate on dry bulk, the group's by far biggest business, in three locations, informs the carrier which is currently streamlining its operation and administrative setup.
As such, Clipper has opted to close a series of offices across the globe, in Stamford, Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Singapore, and Beijing.
First and foremost this is a reaction to the faster-moving dry bulk industry and the need to make communication between offices as efficient as possible"
Copenhagen, Houston, and Hong Kong will, going forward, serve as the three main hubs for the carrier's dry bulk business, says Clipper in a press release.
The closure of the five offices will result in layoffs, says CEO Peter Norborg in an email to ShippingWatch.
"Most of our Chartering and Operations staff from the closing offices are offered relocation to either Houston, Copenhagen or Hong Kong. The immediate layoffs are limited to under 10 employees, mainly in the staff functions that we are centralizing to Copenhagen," he says.
The dry bulk market has for a long time been a huge challenge to the carriers, who have been struggling to make it through to the other side. Recently, however, several positive signs have emerged in the market. Norborg does not comment on whether the decision to close offices stems from the weak market, though he notes in the email:
"First and foremost this is a reaction to the faster-moving dry bulk industry and the need to make communication between offices as efficient as possible."
Operates 150 vessels
Clipper's operated fleet has grown from 100 to 150 vessels within the past year, despite the fact that the carrier early this year lost its longtime partner in two of its pools, Clipper Saphire Pool and Logger Pool, when US-based carrier Genco Shipping withdrew its vessels to instead manage them on its own.
Norborg stresses that the number of vessels will remain 150 going forward, and that the "consolidation of our bulk offices does not impact the number of vessels we operate." It will also not affect the collaboration with the carrier's pool partners, which will still be done out of Copenhagen.
For most of Clipper's clients this change simply means a new prefix on their phones, explains Norborg.
"With fewer but larger hubs we can service our customers more effectively while still maintaining global presence."
The office in Hong Kong was opened back in March in order to strengthen the carrier's activities in the Pacific, and the office was at the time presented as a strength alongside the Singapore office.
Clipper Group's offices in Barranquilla, Tokyo, and Nassau will remain unchanged, writes the carrier.
English Edit: Daniel Logan Berg-Munch