United Heavy Lift – Hamburg, Germany

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Interview with

Mr. Lars Bonnesen

Managing Director

Lars, first, can you please tell our readers a bit about yourself? Who are you, what’s your shipping career been like until now and why did you choose to get into shipping in the first place?

I have been in the business for more than thirty years, always in the project/heavy-lift market as either shipowner or ship-operator. I have worked in the USA, Singapore, Malaysia and Europe.

My father was an ordinary seaman on a ferry service here in Denmark, however, in his younger days he sailed on liner vessels around the world, predominantly from Europe to Asia. When he spoke to me about his youth sailing around the world, I started dreaming about ships, travelling etc. However, I saw myself behind a large desk with a telephone, so that is how it came about.

United Heavy Lift Vessel

You are now the MD of United Heavy Lift. UHL was not established too long ago, but elaborate if you will on who the owners of UHL are, and who provides the ships that you offer in the market?

Yes, that is correct. United Heavy Lift was established in 2015 by Mr. Lars Rolner. He has, with his team and partners, built a solid company that has grown organically since the start. I started on 1st April 2019, after twenty-five years with Scan-Trans/Intermarine. I am a partner in the company and find it very exciting being a part of this team. I devote my energy to trying to grow the business together with Mr. Rolner and the rest of the team. 

United Heavy Lift Operations

During my many years in shipping, I have learned the hard way that controlling risk and cost are some of the most important aspects of being a ship owner/operator. I have seen many companies come and go, and some investors believe that companies can be bought and turned into successes. However, most of the companies which are successful today have been built organically. 

Our fleet today consists mainly of ships in commercial management and this will also be the focus in the years to come. The fleet today consists of a mix of heavy-lift vessels with cranes up to 800 tons lifting capacity, semi-sub and deck carriers. Click here to view the 800 W Type Vessel detailed specifications.

United Heavy Lift Under Hook Photo

Do you strictly run a tramp service, or do you also have liner or semi-liner ambitions? If so, which trade lanes do you feel would fit you?

Our focus has been from Europe to the Middle East/Asia and back again to Europe on the heavy-lift ships. We have, however, just started a new semi-liner service from Europe and the Mediterranean to West Africa, together with our Spanish partner Marguisa. The semi-sub and deck carriers are tramping around the world.

United Heavy Lift Vessel Hull Fully Loaded

Where are your offices located around the world? Do you also work with booking agents in places where you are not (yet) established?

Our head office is in Hamburg, but we have also established a small office in Denmark where Christian Monsted and I work because we both live here. However, we have just established a new office in Bergen, Norway, in a joint-company venture with Ocean 7 Projects. I am expecting a lot from this new joint venture, as we already have Asia and the USA planned. Regarding Asia, we begin on 1st November.

Besides our own offices, we work a lot with agents and brokers around the world.

United Heavy Lift Vessel

Could you provide us with a few examples of cargo that you are particularly proud of having handled at UHL?

We have a lot of cargo and projects that we are proud of. In principle, it does not matter whether it is a large or a small cargo, the most important thing is that our customers are satisfied with our performance, as I believe offering consistently good service to the customers will build a solid and stable company.

We have United Engineering Solutions (UES), which is a sister company. They are extremely efficient when it comes to handling large and difficult cargo. We have a customer base who appreciate that we will always go the extra mile to ensure the safety of their cargo.

Still, if I must prioritise one that I feel was a bit special, then it’s the fact that we established the new world record in carrying windmill blades; 142.000 CBM on one ship. See the picture below.

142.000 CBM on one ship

Do you work with project freight forwarders, shippers, or anyone?

Yes indeed, most of our turnover is with forwarders and brokers. Of course we work with all the large forwarders, but we also do a lot of business with smaller companies. 

Who should people speak to for an indication of rates fast if you are in?

aa/ ASIA–
bb/ AFRICA –
cc/ North America –
dd/ Europe–

What’s the best way to reach you?

United Heavy Lift Denmark office
Aaderupvej 4-6
4700 Naestved

Phone: +45 7030 5334
T: +49 40 308 54 2451 
M: +45 4054 1000