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.
Piracy increased on the world’s seas in 2018, with a marked rise in attacks against ships and crews around West Africa, the International Chamber of Commerce’s International Maritime Bureau’s (IMB) latest annual piracy report reveals. The document was issued jointly in London and Kuala Lumpur on 16 January.
Worldwide, the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre (PRC) recorded 201 incidents of maritime piracy and armed robbery in 2018, up from 180 in 2017.
The Gulf of Guinea remains increasingly dangerous for seafarers. Reports of attacks in waters between the Ivory Coast and the Democratic Republic of Congo more than doubled in 2018, accounting for all six hijackings worldwide, 13 of the 18 ships fired upon, 130 of the 141 hostages taken globally, and 78 of 83 seafarers kidnapped for ransom.
The region saw a significant new spike in violence in the last quarter of 2018. Vessels have been boarded by pirates well outside territorial waters, with crew kidnapped and taken into Nigeria where they are held for ransom.
On 16 January the Danish Ministry of Industry, Business and Financial Affairs launched a new sectoral strategy for the shipping industry. This strategy is a part of the Danish government’s national strategy for cyber and information security.
The strategy contains a number of initiatives aimed at strengthening IT security and preventing cyber threats in the maritime sector.
The objective of the strategy is to ensure that safety in Danish waters and on board Danish ships is not compromised by cyber attacks.
The responsibility for cyber and information security in the maritime sector lies with the Danish Maritime Authority. The new strategy covers navigational safety in Danish waters and safety on board Danish ships, including systems and software for operation, propulsion and navigation of the ship.