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Annual Members' Meeting of the
German Shipowners' Defence Association
held at the Hotel Empire Riverside, Hamburg on 21 October 2021
The Association's annual report, as presented by the Chairman of the Board Dr. Kurt Klemme (Reederei Nord GmbH) at the Members' Meeting, shows a positive result for the 2020 business year. A surplus of EUR 140,013.20 (2019: EUR 162,227.42) was achieved and added to the free reserves. As a result, the free reserves of the Association increased to EUR 6.1 Million which is a new peak.
In the reporting period (2020) claims totalling EUR 9.9 million (previous year: EUR 14.1 million) were either recovered or resisted on behalf of Members.
In accordance with the general trend in the German fleet the number of vessels insured has reduced further in the current business year (2021). According to the report of the Managing Director Michael Wester 882 ships (October 2020: 1,005 ships) with a total tonnage of 16 million GT (2020: about 20 Million GT) are currently entered with the Association. For the current business year a reduced premium income is therefore expected.
The number of new disputes is likely to decrease in the business year 2021. This outlook is based on the current figure from October 2021 (175 cases) compared to the 239 cases in October 2020. On the other hand, the number of general inquiries which mainly concern the negotiation and evaluation of charter party clauses remains more or less at the same level as in the previous year (176 general inquiries in 2021 compared to 181 in 2020). Due to the number of pending cases from previous years it is anticipated that the costs will slightly increase in 2021 despite the reduced number of new cases.
In the light of these developments a moderate loss is expected for the business year 2021.
Also in the current business year most cases in which members contact Schutzverein concern time charter parties. As in the last year, one of the key topics concerns disputes relating to the Corona pandemic, mainly in connection with delays due to quarantine restrictions and crew changes.
Another area of disputes under time charter parties arises from the current positive rate development in many segments. As a result, charterers often try to use ships beyond the agreed charter period in order to benefit from comparatively low rates that were agreed before the boom began.
Bunker issues also play an important role in 2021 again - both under time charter as well as under bunker supply contracts. However, a significant increase in the number of disputes in this area still cannot be observed. The concerns in connection with the new MARPOL requirements in force since 2020 and the resulting development of new types of low-sulphur products have, by and large, not been confirmed so far.
Other environmental issues have occupied member shipping companies in recent months as well - and will continue to do so in the future. The current focus is on the IMO resolutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by introducing an "Energy Efficiency Existing Ship Index" (EEXI) and a "Carbon Intensity Indicator" (CII). These resolutions will usually make it necessary to reduce the speed of ships, which will naturally also have an impact on charter parties.
In the medium term, due to the positive economic development in many shipping segments, an increase in investment activity by the members of the association and thus a stabilisation of the number of vessels is expected. Against this background, and in view of the Association’s solid financial basis, the Meeting of Members decided to leave the premiums for 2022 unchanged. Consequently, the premiums – which range from EUR 440.00 to EUR 1,800.00 per year depending on the vessel's size – have now been steady for 17 years. The same goes for the deductible of 10 % with a minimum of EUR 450.00 and a maximum of EUR 4,000.00. Moreover, it has again been decided that Members whose vessels were laid up in the current business year for at least six months without interruption, are under certain conditions entitled to a reimbursement of 50 % of the annual premium paid for the vessel concerned upon application.
Re-elected to the board of directors were Dr. Niels Hartmann, chairman of the board of Hartmann AG, Stefan Krohn, managing partner of Bereederungsgesellschaft Alstership mbH & Co. KG, Peter Oltmann, managing director of Schiffahrtsgesellschaft Oltmann mbH & Co. KG und Christoph Toepfer, managing director of Borealis Maritime Limited.
The Members’ Meeting was followed by the traditional Annual Dinner of the Association. At the Dinner the sinologist and founder of the Europe-China Forum, Professor David Gosset, held a speech entitled "Anticipating the Future of Global Trade and of the Shipping Industry Beyond Short-Term Variations".
You will find us in the Hafencity district of Hamburg, near Magellan-Terrassen and Sandtorhafen with its historical vessels.
Am Kaiserkai 6
Phone: +49 (0)40 300 666-0
Fax: +49 (0)40 300 666-99