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China Navigation Co gears up for the future

Photos: CNCo James Woodrow.jpg
James Woodrow, managing director of CNCo
The China Navigation Co (CNCo) sees a better second half of the year for dry bulk shipping as Swire Bulk moves to become an independent company and is gearing up for the future with its liner business.

Two weeks ago, Singapore-headquartered CNCo announced it would be splitting its bulk shipping activities into an independent company Swire Bulk, while its CNCo would focus on its liner shipping business.

Seatrade Maritime News asked James Woodrow, managing director of CNCo, about the outlook for the two separate businesses.

“The dry bulk market has had a tough first half of the year however the market is recovering led by the capesize [sector]; the smaller sizes have followed on a steady upward trajectory,” Woodrow explained.

“We are expecting a better second half of 2020. That should set things up well for the new independent Swire Bulk.”

Swire Bulk operates a fleet of up to 150 vessels predominantly in the handysize, supramax and ultramax sectors and has eight 37,000 dwt handysizes on order from Oshima with delivery from Q4 this year. The new standalone company will be headquartered in Singapore and Woodrow said an announcement about a new ceo would be made in due course.

Looking to its liner shipping business under Swire Shipping, which will continue as part of CNCo he said that had, “continued to serve our key markets of Papua New Guinea and the South Pacific Islands through these difficult times”.

The company has taken delivery of two 2,400 teu newbuildings so far this year, the Changsha (pictured below) a few months ago, and the second Chefoo delivered last week.

Changsha_1 press release (003).jpg

There are more newbuildings set to join the fleet. “With 2 x 2,400 teu and 4 x 2,750 teu newbuildings to come, Swire Shipping will have a modern, fuel efficient fleet by the end of 2020 to serve our core markets for the next decade,” Woodrow explained.

Environmental performance continues to be a major focus for CNCo, which was this year’s winner of the Environmental Innovation Award at the Seatrade Maritime Awards Asia 2020.

The company achieved $6m in fuel and a 47,146 tonne reduction in CO2 emissions in 2019 by introducing various technical and operational measures. Moving forward it has set more aggressive goals to reduce the Energy Efficiency Operational Index (EEOI) of both its bulk and liner fleets.

CNCo has also explored using battery stored hydrogen to supplement burning fuel oil for its coastal vessels in New Zealand and the use of cold ironing when vessels are berthed in the country.

In addition to its environmental initiatives with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic CNCo has also accelerated its digital investments targeted at saving its customers time.