New Tonnage Record for Panama Canal

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  • Claus-Peter Offen Acquiring Conti Group

The Panama Canal set a new daily tonnage record in February 2017 of 1.18 million Panama Canal tons (PC/UMS) after welcoming a total of 1,180 vessels through both the expanded and original locks, the canal authority said.

The previous record was established the month prior in January 2017 when the canal recorded a daily tonnage average of 1.16 PC/UMS.

With this achievement, February is the third-consecutive record-breaking month for the Panama Canal. In December 2016 and January 2017, the waterway set monthly tonnage records after transiting 35.4 million PC/UMS and 36.1 million PC/UMS, respectfully.

“These records are evidence of the maritime industry’s growing adoption of the Expanded Canal,” said Panama Canal Administrator Jorge L. Quijano.

Eight months since the inauguration, approximately 850 Neopanamax vessels have transited the new locks, and 53% of cargo transiting the waterway in container ships are using the expanded canal. In addition, 11 new liner services have been rerouted to the canal, the authority said.

In April 2017, the first Neopanamax cruise ship, capable of carrying up to 4,000 passengers, will transit the new locks.

In the meantime, the Hamburg shipping company Claus-Peter Offen has decided to take over the Munich-based Conti Group following a shareholders agreement of the two companies.

According to the terms of the deal, Offen is taking over 100% of the corporate shares of the Conti Group and the qualified majority of shares in the Bremer Bereederungsgesellschaft BBG. After the takeover, the Conti Group will continue as an independent company.

Claus-Peter Offen said that the takeover is a further step in its growth strategy, adding that Conti“is an optimal fit for our group.”

With the addition of Conti Group’s 68 ships and BBG’s managed fleet, the Offen Group will have a fleet of 169 ships: 95 container ships with 631,000 TEU/ 7.8 million tdw, 37 bulkers with 3.0 million tdw and 37 product tankers with 1.8 tdw.

Conti Group has a fleet of 30 boxships, 8 product tankers and 29 bulk carriers, while BBG is in charge of the technical management of 35 bulk carriers including the aforementioned 29 Conti vessels.

Germany’s Offen Group operates around 70 boxships with a total of 417,000 TEU capacity, including 33 large Postpanamax ships with up to 14,000 TEU.

The company’s ships are employed primarily in scheduled services by the large charter companies such as MSC, Maersk, CMA CGM, Hapag Lloyd and Hamburg Süd, predominantly on long term charters.

Since 2007, the company has also been involved in product tanker shipping with around 30 ships, as well as in bulk shipping with 8 ships.

The consolidation move of the two German giants comes one month after Germany’s Zeaborn Group signed a deal to acquire business operations of compatriot liner services specialist Rickmers-Linie, owned by Rickmers Holding.

The planned sale also includes the entire operating business of Rickmers’ subsidiaries, MCC Marine Consulting & Contracting, a bunker and chartering broker, and NPC Projects, which was acquired by Rickmers in July 2016 and offers a heavy lift tramp service.

World Maritime News