HAMBURG: October 05, 2016. The emerging markets in Eurasia are proving ever popular for the freight industry; this is a reflection of the global trend towards bigger and more challenging cargoes says Hansa Heavy Lift (HHL), an ocean tramp carrier with a focus on transport and installation (T&I) in the subsea oil and gas markets.
"Over the last several months, we have increased our activity in the region's transport and installation sector (including petrochemical projects, mining equipment, floating cargoes, windmill equipment, harbor equipment and offshore modules) and will continue to do so throughout this year," says chief commercial officer Joerg Roehl (right).
China, an increasingly more significant market in the industry, is facing a growing demand from oil and gas projects; the largest one successfully completed by HHL being the Roy Hill Project, which was managed by its Singapore and Perth offices.
The Chinese Government recently gave the green light to 44 offshore wind power projects and the residual effects of these will encourage an even stronger demand for construction and installation. New opportunities for the heavy lift market will continue to develop from the current activity in China including the export of nuclear power plants to Central Europe, Eastern Europe, and South America, says the company.
Currently, the areas with the most potential for growth are the oil & gas industry and the offshore windfarm sector says the company. A major project in Asia was the underwater delivery of a Mid Water Arch (MWA) assembly, including gravity base, in collaboration with Construction Support Vessel (CSV) Armada Hawk. The operation for Malaysia-based international offshore oilfield service provider Bumi Armada Berhad took place at Cluster 7 Field, 120 nautical miles off Mumbai, India.
Another key project in the Asia Pacific region was the delivery of a BioPower Systems pilot unit and retrieval rig weighing a total of 698 tonnes. HHL Fremantle picked up the components in Vũng Tàu, Vietnam and transported them to a site near Portland, Australia where the ship's two cranes were used to lower the unit onto the seabed where it will convert wave energy into electricity.
Despite the decline in activity in the oil and gas market compared to previous years, Roehl says his company has seen projects delayed rather than cancelled. Being involved in general infrastructure projects, mining, and alternative energy projects have also helped secure its continued profitability - proving that if possible, successful businesses should operate in areas beyond their core markets.
HHL works directly with engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) customers and contractors as well as freight forwarders and brokers. Depending on the project, the company will deal with end-users and suppliers independent to any third party.
For example, for an offshore windfarm, the transport and installation of substations would be awarded by the developer; for the transportation and installation of offshore structures, foundations, tower sections and turbines, the contract would be awarded by an EPC.
As the Arctic continues to melt, HHL expects the use of the Northern Sea Route (NSR) to increase dramatically. All of HHL's ships are ice classed to E3, which means they can navigate through 80 cm-thick ice, operate in temperatures as low as -19 degrees Celsius and work independent of local port infrastructure.
In the last 12 months the number of NSR transits has doubled and with the 'melt' window growing every year, the business opportunities are expanding says HHL because cargo can reach Russia and Asia much faster than other routes – thus saving customers time and costs as well as possible contact with pirates.
Competition from rail and air in the Eurasian markets has not affected HHL, according to the company. The shipments are too big and complicated for airfreight, not to mention too costly. Rail is not an option either due to the size of the components and the limitations of intercontinental transport via rail.
With a young fleet, expertise and multiple ISO standard certificates, HHL occupies a market niche largely unaffected by oil prices, overcapacity or falling rates. The result, says Roehl, is a growing demand for its global tramp operations while avoiding the consequence of an imbalance in supply and demand.