Shipmanagers ramp up cruise ship focus
Shipmanagement companies are focusing more than ever before on the passenger ship sector, with several setting up businesses dedicated to this sector
The trend among shipmanagement companies to focus on passenger ships is gaining momentum – and several have set up new companies or subsidiaries to concentrate purely on this sector.
January 2015 saw Schoeller Holdings launch a new, standalone Columbia company focused solely on cruise: Columbia Cruise Services. Explaining the reasons behind this, Olaf Groeger, managing director of Columbia Cruise Services, told PST: “We wanted to put more emphasis on passenger ship management, our main goal is to be excellent, but at the time the passenger vessels were managed out of Columbia Shipmanagment – the standards were and are governed by oil majors, and the passenger ship side played a minority role. When we tried to expand and talk to passenger ship owners, we got the same answer: We were thought of as a good company, but not dedicated enough on the passenger ship side of things. Therefore we decided to de-harmonise the passenger ship side in its total and create a new company to just focus on this sector.”
The success of Columbia Cruise Services can be seen: When it was launched it started with three ships, (from Thomson Cruises) – fast forward two years and it now has 10 cruise ships under management, including two from Thomson: Thomson Celebration and Thomson Dream. Mr Groeger started with four employees – this number has swelled to 42.
As well as having a company focused totally on passenger ships, there is the added benefit that Columbia Cruise Services has a strong sister company behind it (Columbia Shipmanagement), which allows for economies of scale in terms of purchasing power.
Columbia Cruise Services offers a full range of services from hotel and catering to technical. The technical side encompasses fuel, deck and engine management. Mr Groeger singled out fuel management as being an important service: “We are very strong in fuel saving. We have expertise in fine tuning engines, and working out how much a cruise costs per passenger, based on fuel prices and other factors.”
A major part of this is the energy performance data that Columbia provides and manages. As well as leading to fuel efficiencies, using the data also boosts environmental savings. Mr Groeger said as an example that Thomson was targeting KPIs on carbon footprints spanning black and grey water quantities and exhaust gasses. Columbia’s key for successful management is one dedicated technical superintendent per cruise ship who is in overall charge of collating the data, evaluating it and fine-tuning the ship accordingly as well as liaising with customers and in-house departments and personnel.