Harry Doze - Marstrat

What we can learn from the Norwegians

Harry Doze |

The present situation of the shipbuilding sector compels a further reflection of the way of cooperating especially in the Netherlands. Some time ago our partner Harry Doze has been looking closely at the way the Norwegian maritime sector is structured.

Main question: What makes the Norwegian maritime companies so successful?

A few findings were remarkable and are in contradiction with the Dutch way of operating.

Live and let live

First of all, in Norway local maritime area’s are working closely together; their motto “live and let live”. It is obvious that local area’s like Bergen, Stavanger and Kristiansand see the necessity to uphold the maritime business in their area and are prepared, as a local community, to invest in it. Companies within these local area’s support each other and make sure that their employment and knowledge is kept and strengthened. Outsourcing is limited and only acceptable as long as their own area are not affected.

Strong owners community

Secondly a strong owners community, supported by a wide range of financing possibilities, drag along shipyards and suppliers. Norwegian technical innovations are supported by a solid financial system. Maker lists are predominated by Norwegian suppliers. This is the basis for a strong continuation of the maritime sector.

Financing and export (promotion)

Thirdly, in close cooperation with established financial centres in Oslo, financing and export (promotion) are important instruments for the maritime sector. The public sector as well as strategic alliances between public sector and the business community are the basis for a strong worldwide status. All Norwegian maritime exporters benefit from this strong support.

In practice

Since the 90’s of last century discussion about integral cooperation within the Dutch maritime sector are conducted. Integral cooperation expects cultivation of sincerity, trust, mutual respect, understanding and support. In fact, the Dutch are still discussing  integral cooperation within the maritime sector, the Norwegians already put it into practice.

One last remark has to be made. As the Norwegians maritime sector is depending on oil and gas, the recent situation in Norway is difficult and might require a restructuring. However the initial cooperation model is one of the best in the world.

Charles Groenhuijsen - Marstrat - Think and drink

Groenhuijsen: ‘I say we underestimate Trump’

Raymond Ko |

During the annual Think & Drink event of Marstrat BV, Charles Groenhuijsen gave an outline on the consequences of Trump leadership on worldwide trade and the maritime sector. According to Groenhuijsen the world is getting crazier, faster, bigger and more modernised. “We should not underestimate Trump. He still has 40% of American voters behind him and his unpredictability does not mean he will be gone soon.” The world economy is moving forward at high-speed and new technologies in respect of for example block-chain and autonomous shipping will impact the way the industry has been functioning for decades. It is the golden age for entrepreneurship, with data as the new fuel for the economy and Trump is not hampering these developments at all.

Also Raymond Ko, Managing Partner of Marstrat presented a positive outlook. “The maritime sector is leaving the bottom of the market behind. The Baltic Dry Index has recovered steadily last years and new shipbuilding orders, also in the Netherlands, are being placed in a continuing low-interest rate environment and stronger economy.”

The Marstrat partners are ready to face the fast changing maritime environment, together with you as maritime entrepreneur or decision maker. The Think & Drink event took place at Sociëteit De Maas in Rotterdam and was attended by guests from the financial services industry, maritime government bodies, entrepreneurs and the commercial maritime sector.

Marstrat Pemex

Mexico is open for business and partnership opportunities

Meindert van Genderen |

Mexico is a leading oil and gas producer, ranking as 10th largest producer globally and 18th in terms of proven reserves. Three quarters of the production is offshore in shallow waters. The federal republic of Mexico is the world’s 15th largest economy by GDP and the 11th by population, with 120m inhabitants.



In 2012 the president Peña Nieto was able to bridge a long endless political gridlock and create a multi-party ‘Pacto de Mexico’, the starting point for significant constitutional reforms in education, energy, banking and telecom. The Energy Reform of 2014 marked the end of several decades of state-monopolies, opening all energy markets to international operators. The aim of this Energy Reform is to increase the national production and export of oil and gas, and to lower the cost of electrical power.


In respect of hydrocarbons, the increase in production will be achieved by selling exploration and production rights for 85% of Mexico’s prospective reserves to international and local oil companies, mobilizing far more exploration capacity than the national oil company could mobilize. A transparent public tendering system in introduced. which is well regulated and very transparent: all relevant documents are placed online. The Energy Reform regulations are based on best practices borrowed from oil producing countries around the world, and applied transparently. Several autonomous federal agencies, such as CNH and CRE, are put in charge of overseeing a transparent and neutral regulatory environment.

The energy markets are converted into a hybrid system of public and private producers.

In December 2016, the first deepwater blocks were auctioned, which attracted interest from around the globe. The auction became far more successful than predicted, with almost all of the global oil producers, including BP, Chevron, CNOOC, ENI, Exxon, Statoil and Total, acquiring Mexican deepwater production rights.


Lowering the cost of electricity is a secondary aim of the Energy Reform, and this decrease will be achieved by expanding and liberalising upstream production and by adding pipeline infrastructure for the import of shale gas from the US, run by independent operators. Gas transport expansion projects with an aggregate value of USD 10bn over 5 years have been committed, aimed at doubling the import of cheap shale gas from the USA. The main pipeline project is the 800km, USD 2bn offshore subsea gas pipeline from Texas to Tuxpan, which will be constructed by Allseas from mid 2017 onwards.


Beyond the Energy Reform , an ambitious, multi-year National Infrastructure Plan is implemented, which includes a USD 5bn port modernization and expansion strategy, aimed at facilitating trade by creating better deepsea cargo terminals. A secondary aim of this plan is to create new logistic hubs for the energy industry on the central and northern stretches of the Mexican Gulf coast, in ports such as Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz, Tuxpan and Altamira and – potentially – Matamoros. Some of these ports may in future benefit from obtaining a Special Economic Zone status.


The Energy Reforms have placed Mexico in a good position for future growth. Although the all-important relationship with the USA is under starin, Mexico’s 80% wage differential will keep it compatible. The local supply chain has decent capabilities for shallow water production, but is not competitive with international markets. The entire Mexican energy value chain requires more assets, technology and know-how.


Mexico is open for business and partnership opportunities, and welcomes cooperation with the Dutch industry. Marstrat is actively involved with the Mexican energy markets, by providing tailor-made advice to the industry and to the Dutch government. Already in 2015, Marstrat organised the Mexico-Netherlands Offshore Energy Forum, and the incoming mission for Mexican energy executives. This year Marstrat will organise, together with partners GGNI and EDI, a 2-week Executive Training Course of for Mexican managers in the energy sector. The training will take place early July in Mexico City, and early October in the Netherlands.



Smart Maintenance Business Lunch Europort 2017 - Marstrat - IFS

Smart Maintenance, what’s next?

Martin Bloem |

On November 8th maritime consultancy firm Marstrat and software provider IFS will host the second consecutive Smart Maintenance Business Lunch at Europort 2017 in Rotterdam. In line with the fair’s main theme ‘maximising vessel performance’, this year’s topic of the business lunch is: ‘Smart Maintenance, what’s next?’

Early September 2016 Marstrat and IFS organised the first business lunch at SMM Hamburg to put ‘smart maintenance’ as a topic in the limelight. The event was attended by high-level representation from the maritime industry, knowledge institutions and governments. Marstrat and IFS are looking forward to organise another successful event with an impressive panel of industry experts.

The Dutch are renowned for a constant eye to search for innovative new solutions as well as the willingness to experiment with new technologies. Combined with a flexible attitude and drive to join forces in project specific coalitions. This mentality proves to be a valuable asset for developing innovative ‘out of the box’ solutions. Current developments like autonomous shipping and the rapid increase of offshore windfarms call for smart solutions, creating opportunities for the Dutch maritime industry. Existing methods and techniques are often product based. While these opportunities call for a ‘system approach’. By making smart combinations and coalitions Dutch companies can play an important role in finding high quality solutions. Digital transformation is becoming a leading factor, creating more and more opportunities.

Connectivity and real-time data communication are distinguishing drivers. Especially developments like Internet of Things (IoT) and Cloud Computing. The availability of real time data increases rapidly. To be able to gain advantage from this data, it needs to find its way to centralized and intelligent systems. Creating competitive advantage through data analysis calls for clever interpretation strategies. Answering questions like: what would be the best next step? How can individual company initiatives be brought to the next level? How to develop industry standards? How to train and develop the workforce and how to evolve ICT solutions? In other words: WHAT’S NEXT?


Due to circumstances this event was cancelled.

Raymond Ko - Marstrat

Marstrat appoints Raymond Ko as Managing Partner

Raymond Ko |

As of January 1st Raymond Ko is appointed Managing Partner of Marstrat. Raymond succeeds Martin Bloem, who was responsible for setting-up the company and the successful first years of operation. Martin steps down because of engagements in various commercial projects, amongst others the interim management role at Deal! Drecht Cities. Martin will stay on as Marstrat partner.

Bloem was Marstrat’s CEO from the start of the company in 2015 and created the foundation of the market position and brand Marstrat has today. He feels confident that Raymond will continue this success and lead the company into the next phase. Bloem explains: ‘Raymond has 18 years of experience as an all-round maritime financial expert. He enjoys respect and has a vast network in the maritime industry. This makes him the right man for the job. Exactly what Marstrat needs to keep delivering value to our clients.’

Raymond Ko was appointed Marstrat partner in September 2016. Previously he worked as a ship finance expert for international banks in the UK and the Netherlands, supporting the development of maritime companies in the Netherlands and internationally. Ko: ‘It is my goal to continue the growth of Marstrat and to explore new opportunities to help clients deal with difficulties that come with today’s reality. Our added value lies in the complementary areas of expertise, skills and networks of the Marstrat partners. Because of this we can act as a one-stop shop and are able to deliver cross-disciplinary services and solution to our clients.’

Marstrat is a strategic consultancy firm that provides a unique combination of technological, business, financial and legal expertise to the maritime sector. The company simplifies, organises and supports in order to solve cross-disciplinary maritime challenges. Marstrat’s partners speak the language of the industry and understand the international markets. They operate at senior managerial level, have extensive experience, and an undisputed track record in the maritime sector.

MARSTRAT cargo harbour

Funding issues of Ballast Water Treatment systems

Raymond Ko |

Raymond Ko - Marstrat - Ship FinanceOn December 8 the Royal Association of Dutch Shipowners (KVNR) organised a seminar in Amersfoort (NL) on issues connected with the recently ratified international ballast water convention. Marstrat’s financial specialist Raymond Ko was asked to share his vision on funding issues connected with installing Ballast Water Treatment systems into existing ships. Other topics included legislative and operational impact of the convention, that come into force in September 2017.

Some 90 shipowners and associated KVNR members attended the session and held good discussions on regulations and technical solutions that are available. Installation of such solutions on an existing vessel is a huge investment, ranging from $  300,000 for small ships to $ 1,000,000 plus for large ships. A substantial investment, especially now that liquidity is under pressure due to continuing challenging economic times for shipowners. It is expected that most owners, especially smaller and medium-sized companies are going to bring forward special surveys before September 8, 2017. By doing so the vessels are compliant until the next obligatory class survey. In other words, it postpones investments and keeps them in the clear for another five years.

Raymond proposed shipowners to actively deal with this challenge instead of pushing decisions forward. They should engage and involve multiple parties like shipyards, suppliers and banks. “From a credit perspective banks might not see valid reasons to leverage further on a vessel, especially in this market, they have clear interest in their security vessels being compliant and therefore marketable.” Raymond explains. Additionally banks have an interest to support sustainable shipping. A combination of funding can be a solution when coordinated well: bank facility increase, seller’s credit and owners funds. Subsidies and guarantee schemes (such as EIB) were discussed as well but have proven challenging in the past given availability and size, even for the stronger owners.

Please contact Raymond Ko if you would like to share thoughts or seek advise.



Shipbuilding for non-shipbuilders - Marstrat

Shipbuilding for non-shipbuilders – An introduction to the maritime domain

Jenny Coenen |

On November 7th, Marstrat’s Jenny Coenen helped consultants from Deloitte gain more insight into the maritime domain. During the workshop shipbuilding for non-shipbuilders she introduced the ins and outs of the maritime industry to generic consultants who are involved with the industry. But have no specific knowledge of it. The workshop aimed to bridge this gap.

With its dazzling view on Rotterdam and its surroundings, the 35th floor of the Maastoren formed an inspiring scene for an introduction to Shipbuilding. Some forty Deloitte consultants participated in Marstrat’s Shipbuilding-for-non-Shipbuilders workshop, delivered by Shipbuilding Processes consultant Jenny Coenen. The topics of the workshop included: shipbuilding industry, basic ship design theory, ship construction and maritime trends. All in a nutshell, but with the goal to become better equipped for working on projects in a maritime setting.

The workshop has been developed by Jenny Coenen (who also is part-time teacher/researcher at TU Delft) in order to bridge the gap between more generic ICT and/or Business consultants and maritime domain specialists. The course should help to speak the maritime terminology and understand the characteristics of the maritime industry better. The workshop is a combination of presentation and interactive elements (that can be tailored to the audience and extended with elements of serious gaming or case-study assignments). Deloitte opted for the 3 hour version, but of course the topics allow for extension, in order to deal with more advanced content matter.