Algoma, Nova Partner Up on Short-Sea Dry-Bulk Shipping

Canadian Algoma Central Corporation and Switzerland-based Nova Marine Carriers have set up a new joint venture that will focus on short-sea dry-bulk shipping for global markets.

The JV operating as NovaAlgoma Short-Sea Carriers (NASC) is a 50/50 joint venture between Algoma and Nova Marine Holdings Limited (Nova), the parent company of Nova Marine Carriers.

NASC was formed by Nova as an October 31, 2016 carve-out from the deep sea dry-bulk freight business operated by Nova Marine Carriers S.A. In accordance with its agreement with Algoma, Nova has transferred all short-sea commercial contracts to NASC and transferred its interest in NASC and its interests in any dry-bulk vessels of less than 15,000 dwt to a newly formed entity, NovaAlgoma Short-Sea Holding Limited (NASH), as disclosed by Algoma.

To complete this transaction, Algoma said that it has acquired a 50% interest in NASH from Nova. At closing, Algoma acquired an interest in the NASC commercial platform and its book of business and an interest in a fleet of 15 short-sea mini bulkers ranging in size from 5,750 dwt to 14,700 dwt.

Six of these vessels are wholly owned by NASH and the company has a 50% interest in the remaining nine vessels. In addition to the vessels owned by NASH, NASC currently manages a fleet of 57 short-sea vessels on behalf of other owners, bringing the total fleet to 72 vessels. In addition, NASC is an active charterer of vessels as required to meet the commercial needs of its book of business.

“While the vessels we operate in our domestic fleet are considerably larger, our Great Lakes dry-bulk business is a short-sea business and we share many customers and operating principles with global short-sea markets,” Ken Bloch Soerensen, President and CEO of Algoma said.

“The global short-sea market is slowly recovering after several challenging years,” said Vincenzo Romeo, Chief Executive Officer of Nova, “but is still in need of further consolidation. Furthermore, it is obvious that both customers and ship owners are seeking commercial partners with the financial strength to meet their need for high quality service and dependability. “

The joint venture will be based in Lugano, Switzerland and has offices in Rotterdam and Sofia.

The duo said that they have already identified commercial and other synergies between NASC and Algoma, including opportunities to capitalize on prospects to develop mini bulker business within the Canadian market.

In January of 2016, Nova and Algoma created NovaAlgoma Cement Carriers (NACC), a joint venture focused on pneumatic cement carrying freighters and servicing global manufacturers of cement products. According to Algoma, NACC has grown to a fleet of nine operating vessels from its initial three ships with three more under construction or in the planning stage.