> First the market, then the fleet
CFL is the youngest, most original, and certainly most energy-friendly, Dutch shipping company. Kees Koolhof founded CFL in 2006. Going against the prevailing trend towards consolidation, he and a group of affiliated partners set up a new company. Under Dutch management, with a fleet of exclusively Dutch-built vessels, and operating only under the Dutch flag, CFL embodies a unique response to the global market for maritime cargo transport, and the demands it imposes on a contemporary company and its fleet.
We anticipated a growing market in the short-sea segment. Because of the further development of the hub-and-spoke structure in international sea transport, in the coming years short sea’s share of the total sector will grow faster than any other area. Moreover, there is increasing demand for dry bulk shipping capacity able to transport both containers and project cargoes of variable dimensions to destinations that demand a low draught, have extreme climatic conditions, or are hard to reach due to lack of sufficient handling capacity.
This is why we chose to build our own fleet, to our own specifications, in the Netherlands, with Peters Shipyards as our partner. Our Jumbo 6500s (with a capacity of 6500 DWT) and new Sole 10,000 series (10,000 DWT) were conceived and developed in response to current and future market demand for flexible transport capacity.
Our ships are therefore able to carry several types of cargo, and their cargo areas (above and below deck) can be adjusted for (project) cargos with unusual specifications. With less power (and thus lower fuel costs as well as lower CO2 emissions), they nevertheless achieve the same cruising speed as competitor ship types, while their shallow draughts and enhanced ice-worthiness mean that they can access ports that other types of ships are unfit for. Our fleet also meets the most current classification requirements for multi-purpose vessels and is founded on solid financial ground. Last but not least, our ships are attractive work environments for our seafaring staff.
Our organisation too is the product of a different way of thinking. We are organised on the principle of ‘lean and mean,’ allowing us to free up more time and management attention in order to excel at our core functions.
We design our new ships ourselves. On a daily basis, we’re busy tailoring our designs to respond to changes in demand from shippers, charterers and other clients. Our technical management is done in house, just like the (final) selection and supervision of our crews. In order to organise our route planning and the deployment of our fleet as efficiently and cost effectively as possible, we use advanced information and fleet management systems. We also do our own financial management in house, to further the development of innovations and optimise the use of new financial options for our investors.
As the youngest shipping company in the Netherlands, we are not constrained by historically determined relationships or by traditional ideas about shipping industry.
CFL arose as the answer to the changing transportation needs of the market, now and in the future. We are doing everything in our power to maintain our lead.