WEEK #21 – 2019


In this issue: EUKOR Car Carriers Inc. | Holleman Special Transport | GPO Heavylift >>>

Week #21 | 23 May 2019

Dear Readers,

Bo H. DrewsenIt is week 21 and Thursday 23rd May. Last week, I visited the port of Rotterdam in connection with the inauguration of COSCO Heavy Lift and Specialized Carriers’ opening of their new European head office there. See below.


It coincides with the fortieth anniversary of the friendship between Rotterdam and Shanghai. Thus, a lot of events are planned to mark this. Generally, Rotterdam is a gigantic port and they are very big in containers, oil, bulk etc. However, in some ways, they’ve missed out on the breakbulk and project cargo sectors. This means that many consider Antwerp to be the port of choice. both forwarders and shipowners. It seems lately that Rotterdam is waking up to deal with this challenge. Since both Rotterdam and Antwerp share similar inland possibilities via the river to the hinterland, it remains to be seen who will come out as the ultimate winner.

We at PCW are sure there’s room for both though and competition is always healthy, both regarding ports and when it comes to breakbulk expos. Also, as we have seen time and time again, once you have a near-monopoly, you can become lazy, complacent and arrogant, which is only human, I suppose.

Rotterdam is a port that both my father and I visited many kilos (years) ago. That was when I was young, and my father was a mate on the Pep Comet, a vessel from the Danish shipowner Pepnautica. I can recall playing football in the cargo hold as we were alongside in the port of Schiedam, Rotterdam in 1980. I distinctly remember the ball bouncing back and the sound it made in the empty cargo hold. My football career never really did take off but at least I can say that I have practiced in an unlikely training ground.

I took quite a few nice pictures of Rotterdam, though it has changed a lot in the last few years. Areas that were once riddled with drugs and prostitution have now been transformed into swanky, liveable areas, consisting of apartment blocks with river views. With the location by the river, the port almost starts in the city itself. How things change, and fast!

The evening before the COSCO event, we had an excellent seafood dinner and I couldn’t help but take some pictures of the dishes we enjoyed (that you’ll see below). I’ve deliberately omitted the wine they served, as I’ve promised the wife that I’ll stay off alcohol for a year. As I’m now three months in, I didn’t want to ruin any illusions. The official story has it that I stuck to water and seem to have finally grown a backbone. Details of the restaurant can be found here.

I will refrain from including any political statements in this week’s editorial. This is because I am busy preparing for Breakbulk Bremen and chairing the CLC Projects network’s global conference in Prague immediately after. So, you are safe this week!

As I am in both Bremen and Prague this week, I have chosen to republish three interviews that we’ve previously included in the past. I hope you will still enjoy them. Again, don’t forget to download our Project Cargo Weekly app which is now readily available on both iOS and Android!

I wish you all a great week and next week “I’ll be baaack”, as the heavily-accented Austrian terminator said in that movie, some years ‘baaack’.

Until next week. I remain,

Yours sincerely,
Bo H. Drewsen

EUKOR Car Carriers Inc. – Hamburg, Germany


Interview with

Mr. Ulrik Sorensen
Commercial Manager

Tell us about the EUKOR RoRo service from Europe to Asia.

EUKOR has various services/trades depending on which market in Asia one is looking for. For certain countries such as China and Korea, we have at least a weekly sailing from Sweden, Germany, Belgium and the UK. For Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia and Singapore we have a bi-weekly service. Certain countries such as Indonesia, Brunei, Vietnam, Philippines and Thailand are serviced via transshipment in Singapore.

Holleman Special Transport – Hungary


Interview with

Mr. Sandor Szanto
Managing Director

Sandor, please tell our readers about your own background in the field of project cargo transportation. When did you start your career? What made you choose this line of business? How many years have you been in Holleman?

Let me start a little bit further back. I graduated at Technical University in Budapest, Hungary and after that I worked for freight forwarding companies for seven and a half years (DHL, Panalpina, UTC).

GPO Heavylift – Oslo, Norway


Interview with

Mr. Torbjorn Holthe
Chartering Manager

Tell us about when GPO Heavylift was established as well as its current ownership. Where does the name GPO come from?

GPO Heavylift was formed in 2015 for the purpose of building and operating four new semisubmersible Heavylift vessels constructed at CSBC Corporation in Taiwan. The present owner of the vessels is a company in Hong Kong, Greenland Heavylift (Hong Kong) Ltd.

The name GPO comes from Greenland Petroleum Operations which is a company the initial owner had available for business when we started up in 2014/15, but this company is not involved anymore, only the GPO name. GPO Heavylift Ltd. is the commercial management company performing chartering, engineering and operation of the GPO vessels from Oslo.

Singamas sells five subsidiaries for $565m in cash to COSCO Shipping

Editor’s Note:
COSCO Shipping is on a buying spree. Here’s the latest news about their takeover of a great deal of Singamas’ container production worldwide.

Singamas Container Holdings has entered into an agreement with Cosco Shipping Financial Holdings to sell its entire interest in five of its companies in China for a total of RMB3.8bn ($565m) in cash.

The five companies include three container manufacturing factories (Qidong Singamas Energy Equipment, Qingdao Pacific Container, Ningbo Pacific Container), one R&D centre (Singamas Container (Shanghai) Limited), and one depot (Qidong Pacific Port), which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Qingdao Pacific.

Spanish Navy Rescues Heavy Lift Ship from Pirates

Editor’s Note:
Shipping piracy is still rampant nowadays, in particular around some countries in West Africa. See the latest here. Can’t local governments deal with this by force? It would seem not, as the problem is still ongoing.

On Sunday, the heavy lift ship Blue Marlin was hijacked off the coast of Equatorial Guinea. The Spanish Navy and forces from Equatorial Guinea boarded the vessel and secured it early on Monday morning. 

After unloading her cargo in the waters of Equatorial Guinea, the Blue Marlin departed Sunday, bound for Malta. On Sunday afternoon, the ship was approached by a zodiac and forcibly boarded by seven armed pirates. All twenty of the Marlin’s crew members were able to secure themselves in the ship’s citadel, which is equipped with communications gear and emergency rations.

The Arctic Shipping Route No One’s Talking About

Editor’s Note:
The route north of Russia, also called the Arctic Route, is interesting. Although only available for part of the year, it is increasingly playing a role for some of the world’s largest shipowners, including COSCO. Here’s an interesting article that gives a little historic perspective concerning this route.

I recently attended (via teleconference, to cut down on travel time and emissions!) a meeting on future maritime trade flows at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)’s International Transport Forum. One session focused exclusively on the Northern Sea Route, the shipping route along Russia’s north coast that has sat at the center of discussions on Arctic development for the better part of two decades now.

Due to Chatham House rules, I can’t quote anyone who spoke in the workshop. I can say, however, that during the session, it quickly became clear that talk of the Northern Sea Route’s potential was starting to seem passé in the face of rapid climate change in the Arctic.

$207 million in equipment sold at five-day Ritchie Bros. Edmonton auction

Last week, Ritchie Bros. sold 12,300+ equipment items and trucks for CA$207+ million (US$154+ million) during its massive five-day auction in Edmonton, AB.

A record 17,600+ bidders from 59 countries registered to participate in the April 30 – May 4, 2019 auction, including 13,500+ online bidders. Approximately 86 percent of the equipment in the auction was sold to Canadian buyers, with buyers from Alberta purchasing 52 percent, while international buyers from countries such as China, Poland, and the United Kingdom purchased 14 percent of the equipment. Online bidders purchased approximately 65 percent of the equipment.

Bayer to Invest $150 Million in New Cell Manufacturing Plant in Berkeley

Bayer plans to build a Cell Culture Technology Centre in Berkeley, Calif., investing $150 million in the project. The centre will focus on developing biologics, an area where Bayer lags behind its competitors.

The facility will be constructed on Bayer’s existing campus in Bayer, where its manufacturing plant that makes its Factor VIII haemophilia A treatments. The new Cell Culture Technology Centre will be 40,000 square feet and is expected to open for clinical production in late 2021.

Northland makes final investment decision on solar project in Mexico

Canadian energy producer Northland Power has reached a final investment decision (FID) on the La Lucha solar project in the state of Durango, Mexico. La Lucha is a 130MW solar project that is completely owned by Northland and will have a total capital cost of nearly $141m (C$190m).

With the FID, the project will now proceed to construction. The Canadian power company noted that it has secured all major permits required for the construction of the project.

Spain’s Balearic Islands to host 10 MW hydrogen project

The government of Spain’s Balearic Islands this week unveiled the Power to Green Hydrogen Mallorca project, promoted by the regional government and private companies Cemex, Enagás, Acciona and Redexis.

Set to be operational in 2021, the green hydrogen production plant – powered by solar – will supply 10 MW worth of non-polluting energy to sustainable mobility vehicles, hotels in the bays of Alcúdia and Pollença, and to the industrial estate of Inca. The new facility will provide sustainable fuel for public and private transport, in the form of public transport buses and privately-owned fleets such as rental and courtesy cars.

Get the Free PCW Mobile App!

Editor’s Note:
Liverpool is famous for the Beatles, but it also has an expanding port and a major hub for ACL/Grimaldi’s ro-ro service to North America. Although I am an Arsenal fan, Liverpool seems to be doing better than us this season! Enjoy the video here.


Editor’s Note:
This close-up shows the size here at Portside, alongside CMA CGM Rigoletto and a hatch cover being lifted onboard. Seeing it right before your eyes is awesome.