Cyprus-based Columbia Ship Management has teamed up with US-based shipping conglomerate Crowley in a bid to gain stronger access to US Jones Act shipping and markets in Latin America.

Initial services being offered by the new venture will span ship management, vessel performance optimisation and strategic procurement support.

“Driving modern innovation and growth requires partnership, and we are excited about providing even larger value in management, service and supplies for customers by jointly leveraging the long, extensive capabilities and expertise offered by Crowley and Columbia Group as ship managers,” Crowley Shipping vice president James Fowler said.

He added that the range of services will be offered to old and potential new customers in the US, Caribbean and Latin America.

Late last year Crowley announced a team-up with Seacor to form Fairwater Holdings, a 31-vessel Jones Act tanker and articulated tug barge operator.

“This partnership heralds a significant opportunity for both Columbia Group and Crowley to elevate our services and cater to the evolving needs of our customers,” Columbia Group president and chief executive Mark O’Neil said.

“By synergising our strengths and similar values, Columbia Group and Crowley are poised to deliver unparalleled value and drive transformative change in the Americas market,” he added.

As well as expanding its ship management offering in the Americas, Columbia Group recently became one of the founding companies behind SmartSea, an endeavour by aviation IT group SITA to copy its software and systems infrastructure model into shipping.

Last week, Columbia Group also announced an agreement with the University of Cyprus to strengthen the relationship between the two organisations.

The deal includes establishing new PhD programmes as well as joint research projects, and what O’Neil described as “fostering local talent”.

Columbia Group has also begun offering an 18-month New Graduate Programme.