Top 10 classification societies

Lloyd's List Top 100 2013

A new class of class is emerging

1. DNV GL Group — Henrik Madsen and Tor Svensen

THE merger of DNV and GL positions the new entity at the top of the list this year, amid huge promises from management about strengthening its position and taking a leading role in the class debate.

The merger of Det Norske Veritas and Germanischer Lloyd tells us a lot about the competitive nature of classification, but also about the changing roles the businesses are forging for themselves in shipping.

Although vessel classification and certification remains a crucial business stream, companies such as the DNV GL Group have increased revenue from consultancy services, particularly advisory services surrounding fuel efficiency and future ship designs and operation.

The merger of the two IACS members means the remaining 1o member societies will see their annual fees to the IACS budget rise to meet the shortfall.

Henrik Madsen is chief executive and Tor Svensen is joint head of maritime.

2. ABS — Christopher Wiernicki

THE US-based class society, led by chairman and chief executive Christopher Wiernicki, may be best known these days for its heavy involvement in the US offshore sector, but that has to be put into context with its other businesses.

It is shaping up to become the largest class society for offshore work in the Middle East. It is also seemingly the class society of choice when it comes to the largest containerships.

Not only has it overseen the construction of

Emma Maersk

for AP Moller-Maersk, but also it still classes that fleet, as well as the new 18,000 teu vessels currently being delivered.

ABS also has a profitable software-design department and has broken into fleet asset management and fuel-efficiency advisory services as it continues to broaden its portfolio.

3. Class NK — Noboru Ueda

CLASSNK, with chairman Noboru Ueda at the helm, is still going strong and growing, but has been pipped by the GL DNV merger.

The uncertainty surrounding the investigation of the MOL Comfort disaster has also made an impact.

The class society has made a point previously of highlighting the number of vessels transferred to ClassNK from its competitors, 514 in 2012, representing 16.6m gross tonnes.

It made a show of signing over tonnage in Hamburg, home of GL in 2012 and again in Oslo this year, home of DNV.

With the two competitors now merging, the expectation is that ClassNK would get more.

Class NK has also made a small mark in approving ship recycling yards in accordance with the Hong Kong Convention, having now approved two Chinese and one Japanese facilities.

4. Lloyd’s Register — Richard Sadler and Tom Boardley

STEADY work over the year has led to the promise of great things in 2014 now the marine office has shifted to Southampton and is now more closely linked to the university there.

Richard Sadler is chief executive and Tom Boardley is maritime director.

5. Rina — Ugo Salerno and Roberto Cazzullo

HOLDING the International Association of Classification Societies chair for the year in which IACS finalises the harmonisation of its common structural rules has helped the Italian classification society Rina to build up its presence in this list.

However, the role of IACS chair is only for one year.

Rina’s chairman and chief executive is Ugo Salerno, while Roberto Cazzullo is chief operating officer.

6. Bureau Veritas — Didier Michaud-Daniel and Philippe Donche-Gay

THIS year, Bureau Veritas has remained somewhat steady. However, this is no bad thing, given the volatility of the market.

Didier Michaud-Daniel is chief executive and Philippe Donche-Gay is head of maritime.

7. China Classification Society — Sun Licheng

THE growth of a Chinese cabotage fleet is of huge benefit for the China-based class society, which still needs to win friends overseas.

A seeming resurgence of the country’s shipbuilding activities is also helpful to the class society, led by president Sun Licheng.

The recent bonus of oil major MP issuing it permission to perform a condition assessment programme on tankers over 15 years old is further proof that this class society has come of age.

8. Russian Maritime Register of Shipping — Pavel Shikhov

THE Russian Maritime Register of Shipping, with Pavel Shikhov as chief operating officer, has focused on strengthening its Arctic position, but is this enough?

Russia seems to rely on its extensive ice-class experience, which although very strong, is not unique in a market that sees many sectors look for risk assurance.

The Arctic arena is beginning to get crowded with consultancy services offering expert advice and although Russia has a home advantage, the competition from other class societies in this potentially lucrative area is getting intense.

9. Korean Register of Shipping — Chon Young-Kee

FOR its numbers alone, Korean Register of Shipping sits in the top 10, although the reports of job cuts and a paring down of activities does not bode well.

Long-standing KR president Oh Kong-Gyun has retired, with Chon Young-Kee taking the post as chairman and chief executive. Next year will see the results of this new management and restructuring to see whether the KR house is in order.

10 Indian Register of Shipping — Arun Sharma

THE Indian Register of Shipping has been making strong ground recently and seen in IACS circles as the dark horse.

Of the smaller IACS members, this is the one some insiders are saying we should watch. Arun Sharma is its chairman and managing director.

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