UHL partnered with Kurt Zech to acquire new F900 vessels

United Heavy Lift’s eight new F900 Ecolift vessels have been financed by the Gustav Zech Fund of Bremen entrepreneur Kurt Zech, who was also the investor behind the now-bankrupt breakbulk carrier Zeamarine. UHL is said to have established a joint venture with the fund for all 17 of its F900 vessels. 

In the shipping industry, Kurt Zech is known as the main investor behind Zeaborn and Zeamarine. It was his money that funded the rapid rise of the Bremen-based breakbulk carrier, which ultimately did not end well and resulted in a bankruptcy procedure.

Following the collapse of Zeamarine, United Heavy Lift took over nine of the carrier’s F900 Ecolift vessels which were delivered to Zeamarine in 2018 and 2019. UHL signed charter contracts for these vessels with the Gustav Zech Fond.

That same fund has also put up the money for the eight new F900 vessels, which are being chartered to UHL on longterm contracts of 14 years.  In addition, according to German media reports, UHL and the Zech Fond have now established a joint venture in which all 17 of the Ecolift carriers are placed. PCJ has reached out to UHL to learn more about the partnership.

UHL fleet

Since its start in 2015, UHL has grown its fleet to 22 vessels now. In addition to the 17 F900 vessels, the company’s fleet also includes three 800-tonne heavy lift vessels and two smaller multipurpose vessels (160 tonnes), which are jointly operated jointly with Marguisa Lines.

Through its joint venture with Ocean 7 Projects, called United O7, and its sister companies United Heavy Transport and United Wind Logistics, the heavy-lift carrier also has access to a wide variety of different types of multipurpose vessels.

With the new F900 vessels, the German carrier will be looking to expand its position in the US market, where UHL recently opened a new office. The company had initially planned to serve this market through a partnership with US-based breakbulk carrier Intermarine but that deal ended when SAL Heavy Lift took over Intermarine.

Author: Tobias Pieffers

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