French shipowner Sogestran Group has kickstarted another round of consolidation in the chemical carrier sector in a new deal with De Poli Tankers of the Netherlands.

Sogestran said it had invested in Italian-owned De Poli, which in turn has used the cash to snap up the European-based fleet of Connecticut-headquartered Team Tankers International.

Chiara De Poli Photo: De Poli

The French family-owned company has become the majority shareholder in De Poli, which was formerly controlled by the De Poli family and owns eight chemical tankers.

The existing top management of the Dutch company will continue in their existing roles and lead the day-to-day operations.

Seven ships acquired

The unspecified investment money was spent on seven 8,000-dwt stainless-steel parcel tankers owned by Team Tankers, as well as the US company's entire organisation in Marbella, Spain.

These are the smallest ships in Team Tankers' fleet. The company has 26 other vessels of up to MR size.

De Poli, which is led by chief executive Chiara De Poli, will also commercially manage three chemical tankers for Team Tankers for a limited period.

The fleets will be combined and existing contracts honoured.

"All parties are convinced that the fleets, the geographical trading areas and the type of trades are highly complementary and, as such, will provide valuable synergies and further improve service levels to all their existing clients," Sogestran and De Poli said.

Both companies have been contacted for further comment.

Consolidation continues

The news comes after Norway's Stolt-Nielsen teamed up with German shipowner John T Essberger Group earlier this month to run small chemical tankers in Europe, as consolidation continues to sweep across the sector.

The Stolt Tankers unit and the Hamburg company will combine their parcel tanker fleets from 1 January.

The new company — E&S Tankers — will manage 48 ships ranging in size from 2,800 dwt to 11,300 dwt.

The week before, Norwegian rival Odfjell launched an MR chemical tanker pool with Navig8, before quickly adding seven Transportation Recovery Fund ships to bring the total to 19 vessels.

Teaming up

Team Tankers itself joined forces with Maersk Tankers for pools cooperation earlier in 2020, while Chembulk and Womar also teamed up in a pools deal this year.

Sogestran has 20 ships, including product tankers and ro-ros, operating in the Mediterranean, Indian Ocean, West Africa, Caribbean, French Guyana, Polynesia and Pacific Ocean.

In February, shipping subsidiary Compagnie Maritime Nantaise (MN) bought a stake in Neoline, the company developing a sail-powered transatlantic cargoship.

MN will help Neoline finance two Neoliner ro-ro newbuildings at French shipbuilder SAS Neopolia Mobility.