Heavy Lift Market Consolidation: Jumbo-SAL JV and Arkon Acquisition

consolidation in the heavy lift market
Jumbo Kinetic carrying monopiles for Yunlin Offshore Wind Farm (Jumbo Shipping)

Published Apr 16, 2021 1:22 PM by The Maritime Executive

Consolidation is proceeding in the heavy lift sector. Responding to the changing needs of customers, the companies have been seeking to expand their capabilities to provide for larger projects such as the emerging shipments of components for the offshore wind industry as well as the needs of manufacturers and forwarders.

Dutch heavy lift transport company Jumbo Shipping and German breakbulk and project cargo specialist SAL Heavy Lift have completed their previously announced joint venture. The two companies are combining their fleets and commercial activities into a single operation to be known as Jumbo-SAL-Alliance. The alliance was cleared by the German competition authority earlier this month.

According to the companies, the joint venture permits them to provide a greater level of geographic outreach and commercial capacity to service clients on a worldwide basis. While both SAL and Jumbo will continue as active brands in the market as independent operators and vessel owners, they will now offer a single commercial entry point with a joint sales network in more than 20 countries. The sales team will represent a combined fleet that consists of 30 versatile project cargo vessels with lifting capacities to 3,000 tons SWL. The Jumbo-SAL-Alliance will offer the largest fleet in the 800 ton and larger sector. 

“This joint venture is a big step for both of us. In the past few years, it became increasingly clear that the benefits of collaboration heavily outweigh the traditional way of doing business,” said Michael Kahn, Managing Director of Jumbo. “Our client base and interests have changed and to remain an effective global player in our field of activity, you always need to adapt and innovate. Not only on a technical level but also commercially. We believe that the flexibility and competencies that our clients are looking for are best served by SAL’s and Jumbo’s combined assets and knowledge.”

Jumbo and SAL believe that their operations are highly complementary, including with their fleets. The two companies share over 90 years of combined experience, are both family-owned and managed, and are among the world’s most prominent and technically advanced heavy lift carriers. Through the joint venture, customers will have the ability to deal with a single point of contact for their projects. 

“This collaboration provides a solid answer to the needs of big contractors and EPCs as well as manufacturers and forwarders. On one side, we can handle regular or spot-market breakbulk cargoes. On the other, we have the experience and the assets to handle very large and long-term scopes, including arranging third-party tonnage or whatever is needed to make good on our one-stop-shop promise,” said Jens Baumgarten, Director Chartering at SAL Heavy Lift.

In a further sign of the consolidation in the heavy lift business, this week Germany’s Rhenus Maritime Services also announced that it is strengthening its project and heavy-lift cargo business by taking over 60 percent of the shares in the ship and project consignment manager Arkon Shipping & Projects. They are launching a new company, RMS Projects, which will be the commercial manager for a fleet of 20 multi-purpose heavy-lift cargo vessels. Rhenus and Arkon Shipping & Projects previously worked together on a number of projects, including a joint venture, Rhenus-Arkon-Shipinvest, started in 2017 to enable further expansion, flexibility, and renewal of the European short sea fleet.


One of Arkon's heavy lift vessels (Rhenus)