U.S. Yards: Don't Miss The Feeder Ship Boom
U.S. shipyards are especially suited to build 800- to 1,500- TEU feeder containerships, and should investigate this market as it is about to expand rapidly, said Guy Morel, president, MC Shipping. Mr. Morel believes U.S. Yards have the technical knowhow, the facilities, the financing and the low labor rates to gain a sizable chunk of what he deems an expanding market.
Marine industry consultant James R. McCaul, president, IMAAssociates (Washington, D.C.) concurs that more growth is to come in the containership market segment, driven by the high quantity of very large containerships currently on order around the world. This, combined with the emergence of mega hubs, will„ advance the hub and spoke trend significantly, creating a demand for feeder ships. Mr. Morel was in New York in November to deliver the company's positive financial news, and took time to discuss his views on the market with MR/EN. MC Shipping, based in Monaco, owns, operates and charters oceangoing dry cargo vessels, and is tt only U.S. exchange-listed fepdfer containership specialist. Libsfleet consists of four feedei^rontainerships, five multi-pupfrose carriers and one bulk career, which range in size from 1 4 ^ 1 to 23,991 dwt. While Mr Morel discussed many meters of interest, the talk kept frrfiing back to the containership^ market, particularly how aves by the big liner companies to consolidate will help expand the feeck^r business tremendously in the cckning years. "The consoliC tion (onttie big liner compajaitfSt is excellent^md it wilj^f^tionalize this indusO-y ajwfcreate new opportunitie^four area," he said. Specificj*l#rh<Ksees the consolidat I o n ' s solidifying the main eastst arteries, a n \ creating many 'new spoke lines opportunities for feeder ship owner^— on northsouth routes. Mr. Movel said the company is currently ^aluating its fleet, the market and I t ^ t r a t e - gy to sell and buy ships to provide optimum service for its customers, the large containership lineS While his immediate focus is transfixed on good, fast, secondhand ships, he said the company is investigating the newbuild market, and he has seen from yards le world several designs "oF interest. MC Shipping is structured as a next-generation shipowner, and has been profitable of late. In New York the company announced a tripling of net income for the first nine months of 1995, and a substantial increase for the third quarter of 1995 from breakeven the previous year. It also reported a 40 percent increase in the quarterly dividend. Mr. Morel noted that the MC Pearl, which sustained minor damage en route to Dubai, is now undergoing repairs in that port, under the supervision of the charterer, sender the existing bareboat charcontract, the charterer has full responsibility for all costs of repair^ and charges associated with time out of service.