Sune Thorleifsson has joined global forwarder DSV as Director of Global Sea Chartering – Projects, from SAL where he worked for 16 years, most recently as Head of Marine Projects. He is based at the transport and logistics company’s Air & Sea offices in Aarhus, Denmark.

Thorleifsson takes on a growing DSV chartering department that has expanded from two people at the beginning of this year to six people in Denmark and two in China today. The intention is that the chartering team will grow even further to cover the increasing demand, and probably another chartering sub office will be established in 2021.

Commenting on his move to DSV, Thorleifsson said it fulfilled a goal set more than two years ago when he first started thinking about returning home to Denmark from Germany.

“It all started in the fantastic summer of 2018 when during three weeks’ vacation in Denmark my wife and I said we thought it was time to move back. The idea grew on us, we talked to our children who said they’d like to go, even though they were born and raised in Germany, to be closer to their grandparents,” Thorleifsson said.  “I talked to former colleagues and people within SAL about wanting to move back to Denmark – the company has an office in Aarhus which is my hometown. But then last February I was contacted by DSV and told about the opportunities, especially about building up the chartering operation.”

“The opportunity was simply too good to pass up. ”

The move marks a significant expansion of DSV’s chartering activities as the forwarder boosts its presence in the MPP and project cargo market. Thorleifsson said while his roles at DSV and SAL are similar, the big difference is that whereas previously he oversaw the chartering of SALs fleet of 23 ships, “now I have the entire global MPP fleet available to me”. Classification society DNV GL estimates the worldwide MPP fleet, including specialist heavy lift ships, at around 1,500 vessels.

As a broker I’m generally doing the same thing – chartering a vessel from A to B. But having always previously been on the owner’s side, it’s interesting to see the market from the charterer’s perspective,” he said. 

Thorleifsson pointed out that while the shipping industry generally is moving to improve its environmental credentials with more fuel efficient, less polluting vessels, the MPP has yet to see a freight rate bonus from this investment.

When it comes to evaluating their subsuppliers environmental strategies, Thorleifsson said:

“Alternative fuel products and a high focus on efficiency will be important factors when the shipowners will start replacing the exciting fleet. This will create environmental awareness and implementation, which is part of DSV’s assessment when subsuppliers will be evaluated.”

On the projects side, instead of an increase in oil and gas, there had been increasing demand from the renewable energy industry, especially offshore wind power. Thorleifsson said these changes have had a significant impact on the outlook for the MPP fleet and vessel oversupply.

“We don’t see vessel oversupply easing until 2023/24, maybe a little earlier if oil and gas demand returns,” he added. But all is not lost.

Thorleifsson pointed out: “Previously, the life span of a ship was around 25 years. Now, it might not reach the age of 20 years. If you look at the last five years, the number of orders for MPPs is less than 50.

The combination of these factors coupled with explosive growth in wind energy capacity could actually create a vessel shortage in the next five years. Wind turbine components, including foundations and blades, are becoming larger and heavier as turbine power output rose. This means that there are relatively few MPPs of the size and carrying capacity necessary to transport these cargoes.”

DSV offers specialised breakbulk services for major moves and non-containerised loads as well as container freight services.

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