Dr Matthias Reith
, director of German bulk carrier owner Orion Schiffahrtsgesellschaft Reith & Co
of Hamburg, helped the North of England P&I club celebrate 21 years of working with the German shipping industry today.
Speaking a major industry reception organized by the club at the Zipplehaus restaurant in Hamburg, Dr Reith said 'In 1982 Orion became the first company from Germany
to join the North of England. The club now insures 36 fleets in Germany and works with 11 of the German-based brokers. We are delighted to celebrate 21 years with the club.'
Dr Reith said he was particularly pleased with the way the club had developed in Germany, from its initial Hamburg-based membership to involvement with shipowners from Bremen, Leer and elsewhere in the German shipping community.
There are now 280 German ships entered in the North of England, accounting for 8.5% of tonnage at nearly 4 million GT. In addition to Orion, which has placed most of its 500,000 DWT fleet of geared handysize bulkers with the club, other German members include Hamburg Süd, Alpha Ship, Hans Petersen and Hamburg Bulk.
'From the position 21 years ago we are delighted at the way in which the club has progressed,' said Dr Reith. 'It is very satisfying to realise that the strong management, highly service-orientated ethos and dedicated team of people from the North of England have maintained and even improved the levels of service to members despite the continued growth of recent years.'
Dr Reith also said he was 'extremely encouraged' that most of the 44 million GT club's growth continued to come from existing members. 'This is ringing endorsement of the club and one which I whole-heartedly support,' he said. 'The club remains a close-knit community.'
Joint managing director Rodney Eccleston thanked the German shipping industry for its continued and growing support, which had helped the North of England become recognised as 'one of the strongest P&I clubs in the world.' He told the reception that free reserves now stand at nearly $100 million and the A- rated club is one of only six European insurers to have a positive outlook from Standard and Poor's.
Dr Reith is currently chairman of the North of England's sister hull mutual, Marine Shipping Mutual Insurance (MSMI), which currently insures 350 hulls with a tonnage of nearly 5 million GT.