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Abu Dhabi Expands Investments in Container and Dry Bulk Shipping

Abu Dhabi expanding shipping investments
Safeen Feeder acquired two Supramax bulkers in June which are already running to Bangladesh (AD Ports)

Published Sep 27, 2022 4:48 PM by The Maritime Executive

Abu Dhabi is continuing its efforts to build out its investment in the shipping industry through its AD Ports focusing on leveraging its trading and logistic operations. In two separate agreements through its Safeen Feeders, which was launched in 2020, AD Ports announced new investments in both container and dry bulk shipping.

One of the agreements calls for the launch of a new dry bulk shipping company. In partnership with Invictus Investment, Safeen will invest approximately $126 million to purchase five bulkers through a Special Purpose Vehicles, owned 85 percent by Safeen Feeders and 15 percent by Invictus. The companies said the five ships will be of varying sizes and are expected to be deployed within six months, starting in September 2022. 

Operations of the ships will be in a new company owned 51 percent by Safeen and the remainder by Invictus. The joint venture will serve as the carrier for Invictus’ dry-bulk trading business, which they report currently ships more than three million tons of commodities annually, principally wheat and grains. The majority of the ships’ capacity will be provided to support this business and Invictus will operate the vessels.

Growth plans call for additional vessels and extending the commercial bulk shipping services to other companies globally/ The initial focus will be on the Red Sea and Pacific corridors, the Indian sub-continent as well as the Black Sea region.

At the same time, Safeen Feeder also plans to invest $100 million to purchase three containerships which will be chartered to Bangladesh-based Saif Powertec. It will mark the Bangladeshi company’s entry into the container shipping business and will be used to establish a dedicated Bangladeshi container line. According to Safeen, there is significant growth in volumes with Bangladesh and also a substantial gap in the market between the UAE and Bangladesh.

The plans call for the vessels to be between 1,700–2,100 TEU capacity. They will be owned by Safeen and operate on a 15-year charter to Saif Powertec. The operation is expected to begin in November 2022 and be deployed on global routes connecting Bangladesh.

This marks the second agreement between Safeen and Saif Powertec. In April the companies signed a long-term trade facilitation and shipping agreement. Under that 15-year agreement, Safeen Feeders is providing eight Supramax bulk carriers with 55,000 dwt capacity to facilitate trade and cargo services from Fujairah to Bangladesh

These agreements are the latest in a series of steps building Abu Dhabi’s investments in shipping and diversifying the country’s holdings. Safeen Feeders, which launched in 2020, has significantly expanded its fleet over the past two years, deploying new vessels of varying sizes and capacities for bulk and container services. The company reports a fleet of 16 feeder vessels as well as four others for transshipment and separate fleets for its offshore and tug operations. The company has an overall capacity of 23,400 TEU.

AD Ports Group reports that it looks to expand its diverse portfolio of international dry bulk services. The group is focused on investing in fixed assets to strengthen our logistics capacity as part of Abu Dhabi’s overall investment strategy.