Worldwide there are approximately 3,000 merchant ports and the work of the Harbour Master can vary widely from country to country and from port to port even within the same country.
On 7 August the Unifeeder Group, the largest pan-European feeder and shortsea operator, announced from Aarhus, Denmark, the signing of agreed acquisition by DP World.
Under its new ownership, Unifeeder will benefit from DP World’s global scope, size and presence which in turn will enable Unifeeder’s brands to expand further and beyond present territories and products. Unifeeder will continue to operate on a fully independent, multi-user basis under its current existing management, and expects to see additional growth as a consequence of the transaction.
Commenting on the acquisition, Jesper Kristensen, CEO, said: ‘We are excited to join the DP World Group. Not only is there commonality with our business models but we also share the vision of serving our customers through removing inefficiencies and delivering sustainable shareholder value. We have enjoyed great success over the last five years under Nordic Capital’s ownership, and we believe that the Unifeeder brand within the DP World Group has the opportunity to accelerate growth, expand further and take the business to the next level.’
He continued: ‘…together with our new owner, we will strive to further improve our offering and further optimize the transshipment markets and the supply chains in Europe and beyond – to the benefit of our clients in particular and the cargo in general.’
Speaking of the acquisition, Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Group Chairman and CEO, DP World, reflected: ‘We are delighted to add the Unifeeder brand under the DP World umbrella, which supports our strategy to grow in complementary sectors, strengthen our product offering and play a wider role in the global supply chain as a trade enabler.’
He added: ‘The ever-growing deployment of ultra-large container vessels has made high-quality connectivity from hub terminals crucial for our customers and Unifeeder is a best-in-class logistics provider in this space with a strong reputation in Europe. Our aim is to leverage on the in-house expertise of Unifeeder and to accelerate growth in this scalable platform to deliver value for all stakeholders. Unifeeder operates on the same common-user principle as DP World and adds to the Group’s strong value proposition to international shipping lines and end cargo owners in making the global supply chain more efficient and cost effective.’
Under its present ownership, led by leading private equity investor, Nordic Capital, Unifeeder has since 2013 grown to become the largest independent Pan-European feeder and shortsea operator with a well-connected network, spanning more than 100 ports in Northern and Western Europe, the Mediterranean (including North Africa and the Middle East) as well as in the Black Sea.
Unifeeder operates approximately 60 short-term chartered vessels, carrying around 3.2m TEUs and performing some 12,000 port calls annually.
The company serves two distinct markets: Feeder Services transport containers from the large European hubs to regional ports, thereby providing major international deep-sea container shipping lines easy access to ports and regions beyond their reach. Shortsea Services provide fully multi-modal door-to-door transport of full-load containerized cargo for customers across Europe, combining seaborne transport with third party road and/or rail logistical services.
Founded in 1977 and headquartered in Aarhus, Denmark, Unifeeder has in the region of 400 employees and professional representatives in 25 countries.
About DP World
DP World is a leading enabler of global trade and an integral part of the supply chain. The group operates multiple businesses – from marine and inland terminals, maritime services, logistics and ancillary services to technology-driven trade solutions.
There is a portfolio of 78 operating marine and inland terminals supported by over 50 related businesses in 40 countries across six continents with a significant presence in both high-growth and mature markets. This is achieved with a dedicated team of over 36,000 employees from 103 countries with long-standing relationships with governments, shipping lines, importers and exporters, communities, and many other important constituents of the global supply chain, to add value and provide quality services.
In 2017, DP World handled 70.1 million TEU across its portfolio. With a committed pipeline of developments and expansions, current gross capacity of 88.2 million TEU is expected to rise to more than 100 million TEU by 2020.
It was announced on 18 April from Singapore by Ocean Network Express (ONE) that A P Moller-Maersk, Hapag-Lloyd, MSC and Ocean Network Express had established the Digital Container Shipping Association (DCSA) in The Netherlands.
After gaining regulatory approval from the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) last month (March), four container shipping companies officially established the Digital Container Shipping Association (DCSA) on 12 April 2019 with HQ in Amsterdam and the association is now commencing operations.
Industry veterans form a leadership team with Thomas Bagge appointed as CEO.
In the words of Noriaki Yamaga, Managing Director, Corporate & Innovation, Ocean Network Express (see illustration here of an example of ONE’s tonnage): ‘ONE is constantly seeking best practices and standards to support and drive innovation technology in the shipping and logistics industry to create valuable opportunities for digital transformation. To realize these goals, concrete discussion and solid collaboration works must be done in order to standardize solutions, establish common IT standards and governance for the industry to streamline and digitize shipping process to shape the future of the shipping industry. We truly believe that the establishment of this association will bring values, benefits and opportunities to our customers, as well as logistics companies, leading shipping and logistics industry to new ecosystem of digital supply chain.’
On 8 April in Singapore, the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), the Asian Shipowners’ Association (ASA) and the European Community Shipowners’ Associations (ECSA) signed a joint memorandum of understanding (see illustration).
This new MOU codifies the extensive level of co-operation that already exists between these important international trade associations and provides a framework for their closer co-operation. The three associations collectively represent over 90% of the world merchant fleet. The agreement recognises their respective memberships of national shipowners’ associations and the unique and special relationship which their members enjoy with their national governments.
The MOU confirms the roles of ICS, ASA and ECSA as the principal global and regional associations, representing shipowners and operators – in all shipping sectors and trades – with those global and regional organisations, regulators and other bodies which impact and affect the interests of international shipping.