The drybulk market in 2019 was difficult to manoeuvre in due to a high degree of unpredictable events. Already in the first quarter, a fatal and disastrous dam collapse in Brazil put the cape-size market to an almost stand-still. At the same time we saw the African Swine Fever spreading in China, hitting the Chinese GDP growth as well as their soya import. In addition we saw throughout the year the expectations to the growth in the world economy being reduced in line with the consequences of the Trade War between China and the US. At the yearend in 2018 there was a general expectation that the market could continue at the same levels (BSI 11,487) as seen in 2018, but above-mentioned realities took their toll and 2019 ended at disappointing BSI 9,948. Especially the first half of the year saw low rates, but also towards the end of the year the market really suffered, which had a negative effect on our results due to our long position on tonnage. 

The Ultrabulk Handysize Commercial Team in Europe was restructured during Q2 2019 with the sale of the Hamburg subsidiary, and the responsibilities for Handysize Europe were transferred to Copenhagen. The new team in Copenhagen had a good start with their clients and realised synergies with the other segments, which is only expected to increase over time.

Considerable efforts went into the preparation for the IMO 2020 SOX regulation. Optimising the bunker tank cleaning plans and the change of bunkering plans due to new fuel types required many resources from our Bunker Team. 

The focus on and efforts to reduce GHG emissions likewise took considerable resources in 2019, but unlike the Sulphur Cap, the work on GHG is far from completed. Most of the shipping industry has already harvested the low-hanging fruits and are now working on more complicated solutions to continue the reduction in emissions in the years to come. To reach zero-emission in the longer-term requires new technologies and new fuel types.

Ultrabulk is actively working on solving this through our work in various committees in Danish Shipping, the national trade and employer organisation for shipping companies.

On the technology side, work on data processing and learning was a priority in 2019, and we came a long way. On the more operational side, Ultrabulk leased robots for hold cleaning on our ships, with very promising results.

Outlook

Going forward, a sustainable improvement in the world economy will require more global political stability than in 2019. We expect a high degree of volatility in the drybulk market in the coming years, but we are convinced that our teams and systems will help us manoeuvre safely through.

With the preparation for the IMO 2020 Sulphur Cap behind us, the work for reducing our GHG emission will increase in 2020. Ultrabulk will continue the efforts to reduce our nearby emissions, but also keep a focus on finding the long-term solution for a zero-emission fleet. 

Ultrabulk expects to be able to continue enhancing our financially strong platform with a positive net result in 2020.

Ultrabulk will continuously enhance a strong base resting on our values and our vision to be your preferred partner in global drybulk shipping. Our dedicated team is relentlessly working to meet our customers’ ever-changing needs, and it is because of the efforts of our team and the solid foundation of our business that we continue to be “a partner you can trust”.


Business built on partnerships

Partnerships with close customers are the core of our business, and considerable effort is put into visualising and meeting their needs. Long-term perspectives drive investments, aimed at building personal relations and cooperations. Resources are allocated to analyse and improve operations cost-efficiency, and investments are made on an ongoing basis in port equipment and facilities in order to improve operations further and as an integrated part of the long-term business strategy.

Core partnerships are supplemented with joint ventures which have been established for the ownership of vessels, as well as cargo handling projects, on the basis of a close cooperation with key customers around the globe.

Exposure Management

Risk management is an integrated part of the business platform. Focus is on strict counterpart control both prior to entering agreements and on a current basis. The control systems assist in relation to monitoring developments and ensuring risk is constrained at acceptable pre-defined levels, which are duly aligned with our strategy and commensurate with our financial strength.

We build long-term partnerships based on integrity, excellence, safety and passion.
 


An operator with an industrial focus

Our partnership philosophy is based on long-term relationships, combining cargo contracts and tonnage procurement into the vital core of the Ultrabulk business model. These long-term partnerships are the basis for a stable platform and sustainable future growth.


A key factor of ensuring customer satisfaction rests with our experienced and professional team of operators, strategically located in offices around the world and supported by a state-of-the-art back-office system. They work closely together internally as well as with our partners, taking pro-active steps day and night, in order to take advantage of opportunities and avoid problems escalating. Our system positively supports these efforts to provide the service level our partners need and expect of us,

by ensuring focus is maintained on critical factors at all times. It also facilitates strict risk management and is a fully integrated part of the communication system. A designated operator with specialised commodity, regional and trade know­ledge is allocated to each partner. This ensures a smooth dialogue and creates a constructive environment, where we understand and meet our partners’ requirements and priorities at all times.


 

»Understanding our partners business is essential to us, as we strive to deliver the best possible transportation solution each and every time.«

Hans-Christian Olesen, Executive Vice President, Head of Panamax and Supramax


We remain …
A partner you can trust ...