Mr. Luuk Flens
First of all our readers would like to know something about the background and ownership of Sevenstar. Can you elaborate on that, and could you also specify your speciality within the project cargo industry?
Sevenstar is a proud member of the Spliethoff Group, which is a Dutch ship owner with a fleet of over 120 multipurpose, heavy-lift and semi-submersible vessels. Established in 1921, Spliethoff operates her fleet worldwide with the HQ in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Sevenstar has more than 40 years of experience in shipping luxury yachts. With the experience of yacht transport in hand and the support of the Spliethoff and BigLift fleet, Sevenstar knew all facets for excellent Exceptional Marine Transport were in house. We see ourselves as the best partner for the transport of floating cargo such as barges, tug boats, patrol vessels, river cruisers and, simply said, every other floating unit. Now, in 2022, Sevenstar EMT has a dedicated team of vessel operators, Loadmaster, engineers and sales agents all over the world. The team is still managed from the Headquarters in Amsterdam. Sevenstar EMT is now the biggest dedicated transporter of Exceptional Marine cargo and is still expanding every single day.
Are you basically shipowners in your own right, or do you charter tonnage to meet demand or both? Since the market is very strong, how do you connect with customers: worldwide, direct, through freight forwarders or…?
Regarding shipowners vs chartering tonnage, I would say we do both. Of course we have a tight relationship with the Spliethoff and BigLift fleet, but we are also very happy to use tonnage of other carriers when this fits our schedule better or when this is more cost efficient for our clients. We always try to optimize our services and arrange the best transport solution that is available for our client. The added value of Sevenstar is the great technical expertise, our experience, and our worldwide network of agents and carriers.
We connect with our customers via multiple channels. We have strong relationships with multiple brokers and freight forwarders for which we are extremely happy. But of course we have a lot of direct clients as well. Due to the experience in B2C contracts with Sevenstar Yacht Transport, we do speak both languages and we are comfortable both ways.
Has the Corona pandemic affected your business in the last couple of years, and if so how?
I would lie if I said the pandemic didn’t affect our business. I think in shipping we all have faced the difficulties this ‘’new world’’ brought us. Most of all we had to work around the restrictions for our crew on board, loadmasters, and clients to get in- and out of countries all around the world. We always send a Sevenstar Loadmaster to all of our operations. The worldwide restrictions made that close to impossible. Due to the flexibility of our crew, load masters, and full staff, we have been able to keep our operations running and kept loading EMT cargoes.
Port Captains, lashing/securing, and competent understanding of safety is vital when moving expensive equipment and cargo around. How do you at Sevenstar ensure quality in this field?
Sevenstar, as a part of the Spliethoff Group, has a class-certified Quality Assurance System, which covers all stages of our operations and ensures compliance with the highest safety standards in the industry. We work with the highly reputable Class societies such as DNV, Lloyd’s Register and Bureau Veritas and maintain our fleet, gear, work processes and training standards for the personnel in line with the latest and most advanced set of regulations for the quality assurance.
The crystal ball is blurry at the moment for most, but what would be your forecast for shipping for the remainder of 2022?
In this market, it is difficult to make clear predictions, but due to the high pressure on the current market, I would say it will continue till at least the end of 2022. From the shipowners’ perspective, of course, the results have increased over the last two years. From the charterers’ side of things, this made moving project cargoes around a lot more complicated. When the shipment cost per unit is increased so much, this brings cargo owners to a situation where margins are minimalized or worse. This problem is partly resolved: since cargo owners are now familiar with the increased cost of shipment, this is used in the pre-calculations and selling price. I personally think it is important for the market to develop to a level where shipowners and charterers can both benefit in the long-term.
How would it be best for our readers to get in touch with you?
Feel free to contact me using the below contact details. Also, I am always keen to have a cup of coffee in our HQ, so do not hesitate to stop by.
Address: Radarweg 36, 1042 AA, Amsterdam – The Netherlands
Tel: +31 204488691
Mob: +31 683000678