Third-Party Ship Managers
In recent decades, the ownership of the world’s merchant fleet has become more diversified. As well as independent ship owners who have their own vessel operating capability, investors, banks and leasing companies also buy ships but lack the necessary expertise to operate them. Some cargo owners also choose to own or control a portfolio of tonnage themselves, partly as a strategy to hedge risk. Such owners often enlist the assistance of Third-Party Ship Managers who specialise in ship operation and usually offer a range of different management packages, from crewing only, through to full commercial management. Many ship managers also offer other shipping services such as ship broking ship agency, maritime information technology and other consultancy functions. Use of a third party ship manager is attractive in a number of ways, not least because the scale and resources of a third party ship manager can generate cost savings through economies of scale. Basically, as ship management is the third party ship manager’s sole business he/she will be ordering and recruiting on a much larger scale, giving him/her a great deal of purchasing, and importantly, bargaining power. Third party ship managers also bring an expertise which can help improve cash flow benefits and keep the fleet in employment through careful ship selection, good relationships with charterers and preventative maintenance. Today, around a quarter of the world’s internationally trading fleet is reliant on services provided by third party managers in whole or part.
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