Of course price is important, but other factors are in play. The latest instalment from our brand-new shipmanagement magazine.

Finn Amund Norbye, group CEO of OSM Maritime Group, reckons he knows as he surveyed his customers.

“Reliability and technical quality, focus and responsiveness and transparency were all important, and also our track record and segment expertise,” he reveals, adding: “Going forward, our experience in operating environmentally friendly vessels will be important.”

Price, price, price

Able to speak freely as a consultant these days, having given up his role as CEO at Wallem Group a couple of years ago, Frank Coles says owners focus on reputation, experience with the type of ship, nationality of crews used, office locations and then “price, price, price”.

Coles advises owners to carry out a full audit of the training facilities and detailed evaluations of the reporting tools and reports provided.

Alex Albertini, who heads up Monaco-based shipowner Marfin Management, is able to crystallise into four words what he looks out for when selecting a manager: service, knowledge, reactivity and efficiency.

Not beating around the bush in answering is John Michael Radziwill, the CEO of dry bulk owner GoodBulk.

“The answer is simple – make money for your clients, keep the cost structure lean and be transparent,” Radziwill tells 

For a technical manager, owners expect the manager to maintain the vessel at impeccable standards, keep abreast of rules and regulations coming into force and make sure they have highly skilled crew and a reasonable cost structure, Radziwill says.

Danilo Fumarola, CEO of shipowner Gestion Maritime, says owners will always look for the best quality/cost ratio services. Moreover, he points out owners will look at it only when they cannot do better on their own and remain cost effective.

That’s a point picked up by Mark O’Neil, head of shipmanager major Columbia Management, who points out: “If managers are not able to offer more for less than owners are able to offer, and more for less and better, then the model is unsustainable.”

Looking ahead, Fumarola can see more owners opting to outsource to take advantage of the greater digital/data set-ups on offer by the big managers.

“More scale more data. Data will be the name of the game,” Fumarola tells 

Transparency important

Value, transparency and a good level of communication are the three most important aspects picked out by Tim Huxley, chairman of Hong Kong-based owner Mandarin Shipping.

“Shipmanagement is going to be needed more than ever,” says Huxley.

In an earlier part of his career Huxley was involved a joint venture between broker Clarksons and manager Univan.

“The days of profits being made up of undeclared commissions are hopefully long gone. Owners want better transparency,” Huxley says.

“A growing world fleet, the economies of scale an owner needs that he or she gets with a shipmanager, and the ability to grow and scale back a fleet more easily if you don’t have to keep growing and contracting your own shipmanagement department will all drive growth,” Huxley says, adding: “It is going to be increasingly difficult for a small shipowner to deal with all the new regulatory and technical environment so outsourcing as much of this as possible is going to be vital.”

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