PORTRAIT | MARITIME SERVICES
BUSINESS DYNAMICS. With a capacity of up to 1,400 TEU, container feeders offer flexible deployment options. Affreightment and crewing is handled independently by JR Shipping.
tor of JR Shipping. As a ship financing expert, he has ex- cellent connections within the maritime business com- munity. As a consequence, the company not only grew its staff but also its fleet. By the end of 2001, there were six vessels, half of which were smaller containerships. “The rapid growth of our fleet made it necessary to hire more personnel to build an organizational basis for further suc- cess,” says Arends.
Around the same time, the company leadership decided to take the task of affreightment into their own hands in- stead of using agencies. “An outside observer may fail to follow the logic behind this decision at first, but it was very important for us to do this to move closer to the market and know the demand for tonnage and the general market trends as early as possible,” Arends explains. Winning new customers was the biggest challenge, he adds. But the ef- fort paid off: the company has been able to respond to the market more quickly, and soon its business partners were reassured they could trust the young enterprise.
High Quality Standards
The maritime economy is facing a decade full of surprises and imponderabilities, Arends predicts: “The cyclic devel- opment coinciding with the global financial crisis raises questions that are difficult to answer: How severe will the recession be? How long will it persist? Has it bottomed out or is the worst yet to come? How will all this impact the shipping market?” Yet, while all over the world ships have been laid up for the time being, JR Shipping are still run- ning their entire fleet.
One of the strengths of JR Shipping is the fact that since 2000, all equity capital has been raised by the company it- self. “There are advantages, but also disadvantages to this approach. If we were to order a series of ships in China, the bank would ask for a capital guarantee, which we cannot provide, contrary to other investment companies,” Arends explains. When ordering new ships, the Dutchman usual- ly puts his trust in German know-how. “The quality of the ships is high, even after many years of use,” he says. He be- lieves feeder ships in the 1,400-TEU range to have the most promising future. One such vessel is currently on order at Peene-Werft shipyard in Wolgast, Germany.
Another strength is the company’s staff whose degree of loyalty towards their employer is exceptional. It is hard to find qualified employees, Arends stresses. JR Shipping therefore co-operates with a local navigation training cen- tre and the Harlingen shipping administration. As for Ger- manischer Lloyd, Arends says he has been working with the society since 2004. A GL trainee surveyor was even allowed to join a crew for a trip on board a ship once to learn about work and life on board. “That was a valuable experience for both sides,” says Arends. That same year, the demand for feeder ships rose considerably, a fortunate development for an enterprise specializing in container vessels up to 1,200 TEU.
From building their ships to ship management and crewing: JR Shipping are in control of every aspect of their business. It is this philosophy that differentiates the enter- prise from its competitors – and it might just be the factor
helping it to prevail in these difficult times.
From “MS Expansa” to “Empire”: JR Shipping operate a fleet of 23 container feeder ships. Their names usually begin with the letter E. With tonnages ranging between 2,920 and 15,940 GT, these vessels have a capacity of 340 to 1,440 TEU. The lar- gest ships, “Emotion” and “Empire”, were delivered in 2008 and 2009, respectively. Both are “Baltic Max” series container feeders built by German shipyard Peene-Werft. Another ship from the series, “Elysee”, will be delivered in 2010.
Photos: JR Shipping
The fleet represents a combined investment of 382 million euros. 3,600 investors have contributed to the financing of the fleet via JR Shipping Investments, a subsidiary of JR Shipping.