Arkon capacity at 120 boxships, MPPs and bulkers
Torsten Westphal identified a niche in the market and went for it.
The founder and managing shareholder of Haren-based Arkon Shipping says he saw a growing demand for chartering services as owners in Haren acquired more ships.
Previously employed in Leer by Hartmann and Briese, Westphal kicked off in 1995 with 10 vessels and two partners in the form of Haren-based Reederei Jungerhans and Reederei Wessels, who at the time had substantial newbuilding programmes. Today, Arkon is responsible for around 120 vessels via its main Haren office and branch in Hamburg. Some 32 people work for Arkon and daughter company Arkon Shipping ∓ Projects.
Its activities can be seperated into three distinct areas.
It serves 50 coastal mini-bulkers of between 3,000 dwt and 5,000 dwt, an activity not so different from the shortsea shipping of the former Hanseatic League alliance, says Westphal.
These mini-bulkers, which he describes as a “big backbone of Arkon”, carry around 3.5 million tonnes of cargoes each year, including industrial commodities and grain.
Secondly, the company is exclusive chartering broker for 40 modern feeder containerships ranging from 500 teu to 1,500 teu — many built in Germany by Hegemann — and also primarily involved in the European shortsea business.
Thirdly, it is responsible for chartering more than 20 multipurpose (MPP)/heavylift vessels of 8,000 dwt to 12,000 dwt, with crane capacity of up to 500 tonnes, and trading worldwide.
Westphal, 52, says he has prioritised the need for well-educated employees and since starting the company has supported more than 20 trainees to become shipbrokers through the German dual-school system.
Also, Arkon has invested in developing new software specifically for shortsea shipping, which enables at the press of a button daily results for individual ships.
Bremen-born Westphal says his fleet grew to include 60 ships from partners Jungerhans and Wessels. He says “business is all about personal relationships” and since being accepted in Haren Arkon now represents eight shipowners, some outside the town. Those in Haren also include Reederei Bernd Sibum and Reederei Held.
Westphal’s regular pitch is that more ships in the fleet mean better positioning and stronger results.
The big charterers like ThyssenKrupp and Tata generate millions of tonnes of cargoes per year and demand reliable shipping partners with their own vessels in sufficient numbers.
Westphal says that to remain impartial he has no intention of purchasing ships himself. “I am a broker serving the shipowners,” he said.
Arkon is, however, a shareholder in many vessels but Westphal says that is purely to demonstrate the company’s belief in those ships and their owners. In several cases, the sums involved are “very limited”.
The company also acts as sale-and-purchase (S∓P) broker when its clients are renewing their fleets. Between 40 and 50 sales have been handled for its exclusive owners, many prior to the credit crunch.
Westphal says that with a young workforce, Arkon’s “future is in front of us; we are well prepared”.
Meanwhile, the founder also finds time to be vice-president of the Bonn-based Shortsea Shipping Inland Waterway Promotion Centre, a public/private partnership that lobbies politicians to implement structural changes in the sector.
The current crisis in shortsea shipping, exacerbated by the political problems in North Africa and financial upheaval in European countries like Greece, is an opportunity to make those changes, he says.
A key issue raised with Brussels is delays or bottlenecks at ports that Westphal believes should be open 24 hours a day and at least six days per week. Also, the port-dues system needs updating so that coastal ships working short-sea routes are not put at a disadvantage to trucks and ro-ros.
By Geoff Garfield Leer and Haren
Source: Tradewinds - 25th August 2011
"E-Ship "1 to Operate Worldwide
Enercon and Arkon Shipping Cooperate to Optimise Third Party Cargo Service Arkon Shipping and Wessels Reederei have agreed with Enercon GmbH from Aurich to enter into a cooperation for the worldwide operation of the innovative windmill transport vessel “E-Ship 1”. Enercon's intention is mainly to operate its newbuilding for supplying their worldwide wind farms under construction. Now a cooperation is under way with Arkon Shipping so as to optimise the ship's third party cargo service. “The “E-Ship 1” opens a new chapter in cargo shipping, and we are going to be part of it,” says Torsten Westphal, managing partner of Arkon Shipping GmbH during signing of the cooperation contract on board of the “E-Ship 1” in Emden. The ship which is 130 m long and fitted with an intermediate deck can carry 10,000 tons of cargo, and also has a stern ramp for rolling cargo up to 59 tons. The weather deck included, the “E-Ship 1” has a 5,699-sqm cargo area. An operating speed of up to 18 knots is reached by four wind rotors, assisted by a diesel-electric propulsion system transferring an output of 7,000 kW to the propulsion shaft via two synchronous electric motors. In terms of eco friendliness and emissions the “E-Ship 1” sets new standards in cargo shipping: the absence of NOx/SOx emissions when the ship is in port, a waste management system, a system for utilising waste heat and a ballast water preparation plant ensure that the ship's environmental data are exemplary. Another partner in this cooperation is Reederei Wessels who are in charge of the technical management and the ship operation management. The traditional, family-owned company from Haren/Ems, with Gerd Wessels at the helm, is a partner who knows the shipping industry inside out from many years of experience.
Source: THB - 1th February 2011