Expansion in all areas
Founded in 1982 by a management with strong knowledge in shipbuilding, NSB Niederelbe Schiffahrtsgesellschaft mbH & Co. KG (Reederei NSB), is a German quality ship manager with more than 30 years experience in managing container vessels, product, crude and gas tankers. Based in the metropolitan region of Hamburg, the internationally active ship manager boasts a fleet of 69 vessles under its management, including tankers, container ships and offshore installation vessels.
Keen to remain competitive in a challenging market, the company has focused on investment over the last five years, most notably in IT systems, quality management and the enhancement of processes; the training of teams for operations strengthened this strategic decision both ashore and onboard. Having proven to be a highly fruitful way of operating, the company invested further with a number of business expansions, such as the expansion into Shanghai in November 2014. This newly founded branch, named Asia Marine Shanghai, is the result of a joint venture between the Chinese Shanghai Nan Dou International Shipmanagement Co. Ltd. and Reederei NSB.
Adhering to its motto of ‘local dedication with a global background’, Reederei NSB has further pushed for diversification on a global scale, as Tim Ponath, Chief Operating Officer at Reederei NSB comments: “During the last year’s crisis in the shipping industry we have pushed forward diversification into different sectors apart from ship management. Since 2015 the corporate brand name, NSB GROUP, has been implemented for all NSB branches as Asia Marine in Shanghai, Busan, Manila and Colombo as well as NSB Marine Solutions, NSB Crewing Solutions, NSB Academy and Continental Chartering. Apart from traditional ship management and newbuilding supervision services, the portfolio of the corporate group comprises crew NSBmanagement, technical consulting, spare part, simulation & training centre, and commercial management services. The companies of the NSB GROUP can be found at ten locations spread all over the globe. They have a combined workforce of 240 shore staff and 1700 seafarers from 12 nations.”
One way the company remains competitive on a global scale is through a commitment to developing innovations that offer solutions to issues that are currently ongoing within the shipping industry. For example, in July 2015 the MSC Geneva entered service after the first ever ship widening; the first of three NSB ships to be converted under the widening project, which enhances the competitive edge of panamax container freighters while also increasing their operational efficiency and improving their carbon footprint. Depending on the ship type, the conversion adds up to four container rows to the vessel, which increases load-carrying capacity by approximately 30 per cent; other benefits include less ballast water being required and improvements to energy efficiency as carbon emissions per tonne of cargo are significantly reduced. Achieving the IMO Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI), which will apply from 2025 onwards, the widening of ships offers a superior solution to shipowners seeking to make their ships fit for the future.
“So far we have realised three widenings, the MSC Geneva, MSC Carouge and MSC Lausanne; the former panamax vessels were widened in 2015, each over a period of three to four months. Widening means docking a vessel, cutting her into four parts, pulling apart each part, inserting pre-fabricated segments of 4200 tons of steel each and rejoining everything. This is how NSB converted a 4872-TEU vessel into one with a capacity of 6296 TEU. But a widening is also possible in the segment of 8000 to 11000 TEU vessels.” The widening project was so succesful that the company won an innovation award at the European Marine Engineering Conference and Awards in Amsterdam.
In addition to this innovative milestone, the company has also developed a new technology that results in fuel savings of more than ten per cent, as Tim notes: “One outstanding project has been developed in our Engine Operation Department: Our Radical De-rating Concept we developed in co-operation with MAN and MMG. It is a retrofit method, applicable for large two-stroke engines, type 12K98. Radical De-rating implements a permanent cut-out of six out of 12 cylinders as well as a turbocharger and propeller retrofit. We tested it successfully on one of our 7000 TEU vessels in a sea-trial. Fuel savings of more than ten per cent have been proven during the trial – and of course the Radical De-rating results in less maintenance costs due to the reduced number of active cylinders and active turbochargers. Alongside these developments, our engine operation department is constantly developing various conversion and retrofitting projects; we have quite a range that we are currently working on.”
As one of the biggest ship managers in Germany and an internationally leading innovator, NSB Reederei is confident in its capabilities as a company able to offer tailor-made solutions that meet each customers’ requirements at competitive rates. “With our diversification strategy that we have pushed forward during the last years, today pays off for instance in respect to crew management. As you may know, we had a series of vessels to be flagged out during the last couple of months. That meant 28 vessels in total that had to be crewed with senior officers. Furthermore we took 12 vessels as 3rd party vessels into full management, which meant another 12 vessels to be manned with officers and ratings. Although operating the ships with more than 400 new crewmembers, we have been able to maintain our KPI on a high level. This clearly shows that we have proven to act in a flexible and efficent way meeting our clients’ demands,” says Tim.
Despite operating in a challenging market, through diversification, flexibility and innovation, Reederei NSB has carved out a name for itself on an international scale; with a solid reputation for delivering optimum solutions, Reederei NSB is certain to continue ruling the waves of ship management for many years to come.
• Thirty years experience in ship management
• Developed and implemented the patented widening concept
• Developed a radical de-rating concept with MAN and MMG