Looking beyond the current bearish market conditions, Norwegian Car Carriers (NOCC) chief executive Olav Sollie says the next couple of years look bright for the sector where his company operates.

While freight and time-charter rates are “too low to be sustainable”, the orderbook is emptying quickly and demand continues to grow, he says.

This means the “forces of gravity shall be expected to work soon, meaning rebalancing of the market”, Sollie adds.

NOCC is a tonnage provider, owning and managing a fleet of seven vessels mainly in the panamax segment (6,500-ceu capacity) with flexible hoistable decks and heavy capacity ramps.

The company, owned by Klaveness Marine Holding and US-based JP Morgan, took delivery of its latest two newbuildings in 2017.

Sollie declines to comment on plans for further growth of the fleet, which is employed under time charters with various car carrier operators. Typically, operators charter in 20% to 40% of their operated fleets from tonnage providers such as NOCC.

The Oslo-based company, which has been profitable for the past two years, says it is cooperating closely with customers using its ships in preparing for the use of low-sulphur fuel to comply with IMO 2020.

Sollie says NOCC has chosen not to use scrubbers, noting that only a limited number of car carriers globally are being retrofitted.

NOCC's 6,500-ceu Liberty Passion (built 2017) Photo: NOCC