Opportunities for growth
Originally operating from a New York office, which was established in 1994, V Ships USA subsequently moved to Miami, before settling in Fort Lauderdale, at the heart of the maritime community. In fact, within the immediate area of the new premises are the busy cargo and passenger Terminals of Port Everglades together with the core of Classification Societies with organisations such as Lloyds Register, BV and ABS who are located not too far away.
This strategic relocation from New York has also naturally resulted in V Ships becoming more attractive for employees as it can provide a full suite of marine and technical management services such as marine travel, crewing, purchasing and vessel accounts from one location. Meanwhile, on a more personal level, it is within close proximity to good housing and schools.
Operating under the V Ships Management Services umbrella, V Ships USA is one of 18 ship management offices that are supported by the group’s Divisional Team in Glasgow. In total, 600 members of staff work across the globe to deliver ship management services to a wide range of cargo-carrying vessels, such as chemical and LPG/LNG tankers, bulk carriers and containerships as well as specialised vessel types. “The unique way we operate offers our clients a boutique ship management service in a time zone that is most suitable for them. For example, if an owner is based in New York but his vessels are in Singapore this is not a problem for us because we operate from a common platform that means all of our management and procurement services are standardised. No matter where our customers are based, they can expect the same level of service anywhere in the world,” says Managing Director of V Ships USA Neil McNeil.
He continues: “There are not too many ship management companies that have a model like this; it is a way of working that is strengthened by our IT suite, ShipSure, a best-in-class system that interfaces with our procurement accounts and our crewing services and is also used by our CEO Clive Richardson. We have recently made a significant investment in order to upgrade this system to further enhance its capabilities.”
Since previously featuring in Shipping & Marine magazine in May 2014, V Ships USA has witnessed depressed market rates in the shipping sector, most notably with regards to bulk carriers, while also seeing more shipments and movement of oil cargoes in response to the drop in oil prices in 2014. “We are seeing a lot of activity in the tanker markets, while the dry bulk market remains depressed; this is putting pressure on the ship managers to provide cost savings so the ship owner can at least try and extract some profit from voyages or time charters. This has been going on for quite some time now and we don’t expect to see a recovery until 2017 at least for thebulk market. Despite this, activity in the tanker sector has been relatively steady over the last few months,” says Neil. Despite the stagnation in the bulk market, V Ships USA has seen an increase in the number of vessels operating in South America in response to demand for dry bulk ships that are able to transport grain cargoes in the region.
In addition, due to the recent drop in the value of second hand tonnage the company has been activewith savvy ship owners taking the opportunity to expand their fleets or to commence a start up company. “Oneof the V.Group in-house companies, SeaTec Inspection Services, specialises in pre-purchase vessel inspections. Over the last 12 months we have seen a marked increase in the number of inspections we have undertaken, with approximately 25 vessels inspected onbehalf of various existing clients orthird parties through our office alone.SeaTec provides a tremendous service as they have worldwide coverage in terms of inspectors. We can arrange an inspection through SeaTec almost anywhere in the world utilising alocal resource. There is no need to fly someone from one continent to another for vessel inspections, which is also cost-effective as well as timeefficient. Out of the 25 inspections we undertook, eight or nine purchases were made, so one man’s loss is another man’s gain as some companies may view this slow cycle as an opportunity,” highlights Neil.
With its reports renowned asamong the finest in the world by its clients, SeaTec’s vessel inspections includes a suite of services such as pre-purchase, condition inspections, pre and post finance, Flag state, Class Record, P&I inspections and scrap voyage assessments. Generally viewed as the most exhaustive inspection isthe pre-purchase inspection report,which tends to last two days and results in the client receiving a high quality document that reflects the true condition of the vessel. This report, which includes pictures and video,is posted securely on the web so theclient can view it from the office, home or elsewhere. Should clients acquire the vessel, SeaTec will then provide them with an engineering and repair solution through using its own competent and qualified engineering and repairs team.
Although certain areas of the marketare likely to remain depressed forthe next few years, V Ships USA willremain focused on areas that offeropportunities for growth in line withmarket demand. Additionally, Neilsees potential to further strengthen the company’s capabilities through mergers or acquisitions over the coming years. “There is always thepossibility to take advantage of a good business opportunity in many of the marine service areas,” he concludes.
V Ships USA
Specialises in the full management of all vessel types
Strong global player
Conducts pre-purchase inspections