Profile: Mercator Navigation
challenging market. “The market during the last 18 months was disappointing and we missed the promised upward trend, however you have to analyse the market depending on the type of vessel and generally there are some positive signs for recovery. The TCE rates for bulkers in 2013 were in average between $10,000 and $15,000, which is at least above the operating costs. Our focus will remain on tanker and bulker tonnage, but we will also carefully watch developments in other sectors and especially the container market as this type of vessel could be added to our portfolio. There are now a lot of opportunities due to relatively low new-building prices, but also in the second hand market.” Growing through extensive operational experience since its inception, the highly regarded Mercator Navigation’s international services include commercial management, technical management, chartering & operation, accounting and crewing, insurance management and claim handling. “We currently operate 11 double-hulled crude and product tankers and ten modern bulk carriers; four of the Panamax tankers are trading in the Scorpio Panamax tanker pool, while two are under long timecharter contracts, the MT King Daniel with Penfield and the King Douglas with STI,” explains Frank. “Meanwhile, our five handysize tankers are currently operating in the Scorpio Handymax Tanker Pool; four Capesize and Panamax and six Supramax bulk carriers operate in the Mercator Navigation fleet. Two of the Supramax bulkers, Mare Traveller and Mare Tracer, are in a five-year timecharter contract with Hanjin and all other bulkers are employed on a spot or short period basis.” All vessels are commercially managed and operated by the firm, which strives to maintain a high quality professional service while also focusing on cost efficiency. One way Mercator Navigation adds value is through using a diverse range of technical managers that provide technical and crewing services to its vessels. Furthermore, Mercator Navigation arranges insurances such as P&I, FD&D, H&M, LOH and K&R for all vessels under its commercial management in compliance with the best practice of prudent managers. “Mercator Navigation is also arranging insurance coverage and is handling the insurance claims of other vessels, for example the complete Marenave fleet,” adds Frank. With its handysize tankers mainly trading in the Baltic Sea, Mediterranean Sea, Black Sea and West Africa, four out of the five vessel types owned by the firm are ice classed, thus enabling calls to various ice covered Baltic Sea ports during the winter season.
Meanwhile, the larger Panamax tankers trade between the UK and the US, Caribbean Sea and Persian Gulf, the Middle East and West Africa. As a global operator, the dynamic shipping firm will face a number of challenges over the coming years as the sulphur content regulations in Emission Control Areas will come into effect in January 2015 before expanding worldwide. On top of this, there is also the impending enforced use of ballast water treatments as well as new MARPOL and IMO regulations. Despite the difficult market and upcoming regulatory demands on the shipping industry, Mercator Navigation has a strong fleet of fully compliant and versatile vessels to aid it through these challenging waters, as Frank concludes: “Our core business is the tanker and bulker trade; our activities will continue in this sector, however it seems that we will also add container vessels to our portfolio. We start 2014 optimistic, making our plans year by year to cautiously evaluate the at times fast changing developments in all shipping markets.” l Mercator Navigation www.mercator-navigation.de • Restructured and renamed from December 2013/January 2014 • Operate a fleet of 21 vessels • Larger vessels operate globally
www.shippingandmarine.co.uk - 55
Published on Feb 13, 2014