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.
On 13 November speaking in Tokyo on behalf of the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), its Chairman, Esben Poulsson, highlighted serious concerns about the challenge presented by the United States.
In his words: ‘To the proven benefits of multilateralism and the existing global trading order underpinned by a system of international rules and norms which has brought peace and prosperity since World War Two’.
He added: ‘The view that international trade can be seen as some kind of zero sum game is demonstrably false.’
Poulsson acknowledged that the US has legitimate concerns about the policies of some of its trading partners, concerns which to some extent ICS also shares, particularly with regard to China and South Korea’s possible contribution towards overcapacity in shipping.
The IMO regulation that sets out preventive security measures on detecting and deterring threats to ships and port facilities – the ISPS Code* – was the subject of a training workshop that took place in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago from 5-9 November.
This workshop was initiated as a means of assistance to potential Designated Authority (DA) and Port Facility Security Officers (PFSOs) to improve their knowledge of how to implement the relevant provisions in the ISPS Code and SOLAS Chapter XI-2. This followed a national maritime security workshop on design and conduct of drills and exercises organized for Trinidad and Tobago by IMO last year, the outcomes of which are being addressed in part by this new workshop.