We are pleased to welcome Carlos Pena, CTM’s Chief Commerical Officer (CCO) to the podcast for our latest episode to talk about CTM’s Supramax pool, the Supramax Revenue Sharing Agreement (RSA), which is the largest and most flexible Supramax pool in the market, the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and a brand new app that we have been developing over the past year.
Getting started in the industry
We wanted you to get to know more about our CCO during the half-hour interview, so we began by asking Carlos about how he got his start in shipping (the answer will surprise you much as it did us) and his biggest challenge so far before asking more in-depth questions about the Supramax RSA and the market.
The Supramax RSA. How it came about and its benefits.
The Supramax RSA has grown from just 5 members and 6 vessels in 2013 to 20 members and 77 vessels today. During our interview, Carlos spoke on how we developed the model and the benefits of being part of the Supramax RSA. One of the key features is the RSA’s unrivaled flexibility with owners just needing to provide a 3-month exit notice and they incur no penalties if they choose to leave the pool. This flexibility came from us listening to what owners were looking for in a pool when we were developing it. This model has seen clients exit the pool only to return to the Supramax RSA due to its good performance and flexibility. Carlos pointed out that the Supramax RSA has made it effortless for us to “provide a good service to charterers; it's much easier for them as they have one contact point for several owners and vessels.” The Supramax RSA has allowed us to create new standards of excellence in part by making the lives of all those connected to it much simpler therefore business tends to flow with very little hindrance.
The Supramax RSA averages out the risk and costs of misfortunes and reduces the impact of market shocks; e.g delays at ports like we saw during Q1 2021, unexpected problems that might lead to off-hire and fluke accidents like the Suez Canal blockage. Due to its size, the RSA can more easily absorb significant costs/lack of revenues linked to these unexpected events.
A further benefit of joining the Supramax RSA is being part of a thought partnership which our CEO John Michael Radziwill also brought up during our interview with him (check it out by clicking here). This thought partnership brings shipowners together enabling them to exchange views, create new opportunities, minimise their risk and have access to better information. All this gives them and us the ability to make better decisions with all parties learning from and challenging one another.
The new CTM App
During this interview, we spoke with Carlos for the first time about the new CTM App; a useful tool for our clients and the next step in us going forward together. The app which has just been released came about by us listening to what our clients said they wanted. The app is laden with time-saving features creating one place where our clients can have access to the following password-protected information: the Baltic Dry indices, all CTM’s evening, weekly and monthly reports, a live map with vessel positions so they can see where their vessels are, the most recent fixtures, vessel commitments and live earnings, a voyage calculator and the coverage (yearly, quarterly and monthly) which is accessible on any device with a web browser that supports HTML 5 (Apple’s Safari, Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge etc). Equally importantly, it looks great! Below is a sneak peek of the dashboard. This is CTM’s next step in modernising our services and providing new tools for our clients to make their lives simpler.
Crews are essential workers
When we spoke about how the pandemic and how it impacted the world Carlos pointed out that this has been a trying time for humanity as a whole “over the past year we have become more human”. He praised the hard-working and long-suffering crews who are essential workers and are still not recognised as such in his words “think of those poor guys on the ships for a year not seeing families working every day, in different places, not able to disembark they have been heroes and done a hell of a job and the world has seemingly missed this and they deserve to be recognised”. We can’t agree more with that statement and it is echoed by all of us at CTM. As hard as life has been for all of us onshore over the past year, it pales in comparison to what crews around the world have had to face. We at CTM will continue to voice our support to the crews around the world who kept the trade routes open during one of the most troubling and difficult times in recent history.
Returning to business as normal?
Over the past year, the world has embraced/been forced to adapt to the new way of organising business meetings via Zoom/Teams calls, virtual meetings and webinars etc. When asked if he thought that the world will return to how things were he had this to say “our business was a lot of travelling, meeting people, sharing life experiences and opinions. That will come back it might take a bit of time but the human part of the business is still incredibly relevant”. Going forward he believes that we won’t travel as much as we were pre-pandemic and that it will be a mixture of virtual meetings and business travel.
Next big shipping boom?
2021 has so far been a great year for the dry bulk market with Supramaxes, Panamaxes and Capesizes all experiencing decade-high earnings. We asked Carlos if this is the beginning of a boom period for shipping? After a very positive first quarter, he is “optimistic because we see growth in the world, people are coming back to hospitality, events, construction etc” in Q1 on the Supramaxes we had “97% utilization which is huge” and “cargoes are flowing from everywhere all the time with no difficulty”. In general, life is returning with governments and businesses around the world looking to recover from 2020 and he can’t see any reason not to be optimistic about the future going forward. He urged shipowners to learn from the experience of the past few years and not go crazy and order too many new vessels. Instead, he encouraged them to take advantage of the second-hand market — a message that our CEO, Mr Radziwill, has said countless times.
We had a great time speaking with Carlos in this podcast and we hope you enjoyed listening to him. Thank you for reading our blog here on Medium and please subscribe to our Podcast on SoundCloud.
C TRANSPORT MARITIME S.A.M. (CTM) is a highly qualified and experienced vessel management company primarily in the dry cargo ocean transportation industry. Established in Monaco in 2004, the company has strong Greek and Italian shipping roots that reach back over a century. CTM currently manages a fleet of over 200 dry cargo vessels at any point in time in the Handymax up to Capesize segments.