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17 November 2015

Article from ShippingWatch by Johannes Hartkorf-Mikkelsen

SUPPLIERS: Carriers’ demands for mega vessels has opened a new market for Danish ship design firm KNUD E. HANSEN. The company announces its best results in years and looks set to hire more employees in 2016.

Ice-breaker ‘Antarctica’, which has been ordered by the Australian authorities, adorns a poster in the meeting room of ship design firm KNUD E. HANSEN, whose offices are located north of Copenhagen. The ice-breaker, which will be delivered in 2019, is important to KNUD E. HANSEN because, as a specialized vessel, it demanded a lot of work and thus represents a good business case.

However, if one asks Finn Wollesen, CEO of KNUD E. HANSEN, which shipping segment carries the biggest potential over the next year, he points to mass production of vessels rather specialized vessels.

“Many mega ships have entered the market, and I believe that will create a demand for feeders,” he tells ShippingWatch.

Finn Wollesen adds that, going forward, he imagines that the largest container ships will increasingly be loaded and unloaded in large ports such as Rotterdam, from which cargo will sail on smaller ships.

“Those we speak to say the trend is heading in that direction,” he says, stressing that he is not an expert in logistics.

He believes so firmly in the new market for feeder segments, that KNUD E. HANSEN, which suffered a deficit of USD 64,331 last year, will be ready with two new feeder concepts around the new year. The concepts have a capacity of around 3,000 teu, and differ from one another by being tuned to different speeds.

The feeder concepts are developed on speculation – that is, without any immediate buyer – and have a development sum of over USD 71,000. He hopes to hit a demand from the market at the right time, though he declines to fix a figure on his expectations.

“It is impossible to say, whether a buyer will be tempted into taking a chance and building a vessel now, or whether they’ll all wait around because nobody wants to be the first,” says Wollesen.

He also sees a chance that some of the older container ships, which were considered large ten years ago, will be deployed as feeders.

“But that isn’t as effective, because if you are building a new feeder and the oil price goes up again, then it might not be so efficiecnt to sail around with them,” says the CEO, who uses a majority of his many travel days on selling.

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