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Chelsea Logistics allocates over $100M for fleet expansion

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CHELSEA LOGISTICS Holdings Corp. launched the M/V Salve Regina passenger vessel at the Manila North Harbour Port on Oct. 5. — DENISE A. VALDEZ

CHELSEA LOGISTICS Holdings Corp. (CLC) is allocating more than $100 million for the expansion of its fleet as it expects six passenger vessels to be delivered in the next three years.

The listed company inaugurated on Friday two new ships — the M/T Chelsea Providence oil tanker and the M/V Salve Regina passenger vessel at the Manila North Harbour Port.

Meron pang dalawa [There will be two] of this size, another $14 million. Then the (next) batches will be around $20 million each. Then the next two, ‘yung mas malaki [the bigger ones], will be another around $30 million each,” CLC President and Chief Executive Officer Chryss Alfonsus V. Damuy told reporters on Friday.

He said the company is adding more roll-on, roll-off (RoRo) passenger vessels to its existing fleet of 88 ships to cater to its underserved routes, and those routes that still utilize old vessels.

“There is a number of routes na underserved pa [that are still underserved]. It’s either underserved or served by vessels na [that are] due for phase out…. Isa ‘yun sa mga area na tinitingnan natin [That’s one of the areas we’re looking at] that we will replace it with ships like this or smaller sizes,” he said.

Mr. Damuy said the other six passenger ships it ordered will be delivered in twos per year, starting in November.

Memorandum Circular No. 2018-05 from the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) limits the age of registered cruise ships to be at most 20 years old. Mr. Damuy said around seven to eight vessels of CLC will be due for phase out in the next five years because of this.

“[The] new vessels will either replace the one that will be phased out (or will be used for) expansion to other new routes,” the CLC president said.

Aside from inter-port connections in Visayas and Mindanao, CLC is eyeing some routes including those from Batangas to Iloilo and Bacolod.

Mr. Damuy said at present, CLC’s share of the passenger market stands at around 30%. The company hopes to increase its share with the modernization of its fleet.

The company’s existing fleet is comprised of 16 tankers, 22 RoRo passenger vessels, 11 cargo vessels, 14 tugboats and one floating dock, operating across its units Chelsea Shipping, Starlite Ferries, Trans-Asia Shipping Lines, Inc. and Fortis Tugs. Its investee, the 2GO Group, Inc., has eight RoRo passenger vessels, five cargo vessels and 11 fastcrafts.

CLC reported a 29% increase in its net income during the first six months of the year to P360 million on the back of higher revenues from its shipping business. — Denise A. Valdez