German boxship heavies in huge chartering tie-up

Conti Group and Norddeutsche Vermogen are the latest carriers to team up with the formation of a 130-strong containership leviathan.

Market consolidation continues to gather pace with two of the biggest boxship tonnage providers in Germany, Norddeutsche Vermogen and Conti Group, forming a single chartering operation.

The move will lead to a commercial venture with responsibility for handling a fleet of more than 130 vessels.

A fleet of roughly 69 of Conti’s ships ranging from 1,600 teu to 11,000 teu will be transferred to H Schuldt Shipbrokers, the in-house and competitive-chartering broker for Norddeutsche Vermogen.

Armin Sass of Schuldt confirms the addition of the Conti fleet to its portfolio, which currently comprises 63 ships from 1,200 teu up to 8,400 teu.

He says the company will continue to manage operations from its offices in Hamburg and Singapore.

The Conti fleet has been run for over a decade by Hamburg-based broking shop Continental Chartering, which is left with around 30 ships, according to its website.

It remains uncertain how many of the Conti vessels will remain under commercial management as many are expected to be sold.

TradeWinds reported in December that Conti is looking to dispose of 21 older ships built in the 1990s that range from 2,400 teu to 3,600 teu.

The joint marketing of the Conti and Norddeutsche fleets is the latest development in the German consolidation bandwagon.

Norddeutsche boss Martin Smith was unable to comment and Conti did not respond by press time.

Sceptics, however, doubt that the move will do anything to raise rates because it does not remove vessels from the market.

Notwithstanding, several container-shipping companies have formed joint marketing pacts in recent weeks. The latest was the formation of Contchart Hamburg, which will handle chartering for 170 vessels belonging to the fleets of MPC Munchmeyer Petersen Steamship, Thien & Heyenga and Reederei Buss/GB Shipping.

Other significant partnerships include the fleet of more than 100 vessels formed by the merger of ER Rickmers and Komrowski.