Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Dry Bulk and Product Tanker Group Makes Some Management and Staff Changes

In Addition New Vessels are to Join Mixed Fleet
Shipping News Feature

DENMARK – Tanker outfit Norden AS is all over the news this week having set up a joint venture which sparked a reallocation of staff, including a rejig of the board, and also announced additions to the company fleet of dry bulk and product carriers.

The new joint venture sees the company link up on a 50/50 basis with the Synergy Marine Group which will handle the technical management of the company’s owned tanker vessels, effective as of 20 August 2020. Norden says it already has a good partnership with Synergy, which has successfully managed the dry cargo fleet since September 2019.

The company says that in-house technical management is incompatible with its transition to a trading-oriented business with large and frequent fluctuations in the number of ships owned. Whilst it feels it has delivered safe, reliable and cost-efficient technical management of its fleet over many years, it does not provide the commercial flexibility required nor economies of scale to invest in digitalisation of technical management, where Synergy is a leading provider of digital solutions.

Norden will transfer 116 employees to the 50/50 owned joint venture, which will be headquartered in Copenhagen, supported by a 100% owned subsidiary in India, and with Danish flagged vessels continuing to sail under the same flag. The employees transferred to the joint venture include seafarers currently employed directly through Norden. The remaining seafarers will be offered new contracts through Synergy. Fifteen employees will be offered employment in new roles in either Norden, the joint venture or Synergy.

However, as a consequence of the restructuring, Norden will unfortunately part ways with 25 colleagues in Copenhagen, Manila and Mumbai. Technical management has been an integrated part of Norden’s history for many years so it says this is not a decision taken lightly, especially in view of the dedicated contribution from many skilled colleagues over the years.

The partnership does, however, enable Norden to be fully focused on optimising trading and commercial operations across the company, areas where Norden believes it has a real competitive edge, and CEO Jan Rindbo, explained:

“Norden requires a nimble approach to ownership, both commercially and organisationally. The partnership with Synergy enables Norden to be fully focused on optimising trading and commercial operations while ensuring safe, efficient and flexible technical management of the owned fleet.”

We also understand that the company has increased its newbuilding contract with the Nantong Cosco Khi Ship Engineering Company by two vessels, bringing the ordered quantity to six. Two of these ships have apparently already been moved on under sale/leaseback agreements, and add to a recent Supramax bulk carrier purchase, that ship having come from the same yard some six years ago,

Jan Rindbo said the purchases were driven by the falling tonnage prices, down between 10 and 20% in 2018/19 when the company sold ten of its ships. These latest acquisitions will be allocated to the company owned and long-term chartered tanker and dry cargo vessels under the Norden Asset Management business unit.