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Editor in chief: Angelo Scorza
08/10/18 10:57

Cosiarma: turnover has dropped while volumes continue soaring

Colombini (Orsero group): “We believe direct ownership is a strategic element. Specialized ships have a future even in a weak market”

Fresh fruit transport through specialized units has been affected by a tough crisis as all other shipping segments, however a niche market is still surviving and Orsero group is pivoting on this strategic business.

Albenga-based corporation, specialized in fruit production and distribution, has recently published half year result showing Cosiarma - shipping company controlled by the group operating 4 specialized ships (the Cala Palma, Cala Pedra, Cala Pino and Cala Pula operating a regular service calling at Vado Ligure; Rio Haina in the Dominican Republic; Turbo in Colombia; Moin in Costa Rica; Lisbon in Portugal and Tarragona in Spain) – ailing in current tough market, increasingly affected by freight rates drastic drop and by growing bunker prices.

“According to Orsero group's attachment to the report – this division showed a drop in revenues from 37.6 to 34.6 million Euro, due to US/Euro fluctuating exchange rate. The lowest Adjusted EBITDA versus 2017 1st semester has been affected by exchange rate factors and by a further drop in freight rates blended with higher bunker prices, which grew from average 314 dollars/tons in 2017 first semester to current 376 dollars/tons”.

“Obviously the present shipping cycle has a negative trend and Cosiarma is paying for this occurrence showing lower margin versus former years” told Ship2Shore Matteo Colombini, Managing Director and Chief Financial Officer at Orsero group.

“In past years we achieved substantial results, even in revenues, while currently ships are travelling in break-even and shipping transport is still encompassed in our group's strategy”.

Colombini confirms that the company will continue operating in shipping: “Managing our products' logistic chain is a key element (roughly 50% of the whole volumes handled by Cosiarma) and our ships' life will last further 10 years”.

The manager corroborates the strategic relevance of a shipowning business, although realizing that the number of specialized fruit carriers dropped versus 10 years ago and that a market share turned to traditional containers.

Colombini confides Cosiarma can still pivot on a specific market: “We consider being able to offer our customers a value-added, exclusively focusing on fruit, in terms of knowledge, efficiency and performance”.

In order to corroborate the fact that some customers are particularly interested in fruit shipments, Orsero group's CFO also recalls that “disregarding the drop in sales and revenues, handled volumes are continuously soaring and load factor reaches 90%”.

In essence, as confirmed by the company's half-year statement , in between January and June 2018 “shipped volumes have grown versus 2017 (-5%) with 90% load factor”, higher than 2017 but lower if compared to 2015 -16, due to weather problems in Central America, particularly in the Caribbean where fruit is boarded: essentially in Moin – Costarica, where Maersk has been attempting to establish a new containers terminal.

Colombini also confirms their intention to keep Cosiarma within the group and, thinking as a shipowner, he focuses on the upcoming deadline, set on January 1st 2020, when the new sulphur emission will be enforced.

Francesco Bottino

TAG : Specialized