Songa quietly lifts containership fleet

Arne Blystad-led Songa Container has quietly grown its boxship fleet with the purchase of nine vessels in behind-the-scenes deals.

Until now, Songa Container was understood to have purchased only four such vessels, but five further deals have emerged.

The nine ships were built between 2007 and 2014 with capacities between 1,036 teu and 3,762 teu.

None of the deals have been reported and they are believed to have been negotiated through German banks.

Blystad and Songa Container director Fredrik Platou declined to comment on the investments. Nordic Hamburg is acting commercial manager for eight of the ships.

In addition to its current fleet, Songa Container also bought the 3,104-teu Songa Alya (built 2014) in September last year for $6.35m but sold it two months later for $8.5m.

Songa Container was set up with finance house Ness, Risan & Partners (NRP). Blystad was joined by external investors in the project. Among them is Magnus Roth, who is also a major shareholder in Oslo-listed Songa Bulk.

No comment

In December, an NRP report stated the price for a 1% stake in the company was $690,000. NRP director Ragnvald Risan declined to comment on the project.

Norwegian shipowners have traditionally steered clear of the boxship sector, but lately a number of players have invested in containerships to capitalise on historic low values.

In addition to Songa Container, Awilco, Torvald Klaveness and Lorentzens Skibs have all joined in the boxship purchasing spree.