Business Profiles

Pola Maris: From ship to shore

It takes a strong hand on the tiller to guide a company through the choppy waters of the ever-changing dry bulk shipping industry, but the Pola Group is fortunate enough to have an outstanding team of professionals always on hand, which piqued Endeavour Magazine’s interest.

The Pola Group is no small fish, with eth group having been founded back in 2006 with the aim of offering significant shareholder interests within the competitive dry bulk shipping industry. While financial markets have been hit with prolonged periods of fiscal turbulence, the Pola Group has consistently kept it’s head above water, through expertly managed projects and a bolder approach to cargo transportation,

“The Pola Group operates in high end, niche markets. We are specialised in difficult trades, shipping under the harshest, coldest, restricted, time pressured and extreme conditions in the world, from the coldest winters in Russia to the shallowest river ports in South America.”

While lesser operations may seek the easier, safer bets, it’s the challenge of always rising to the occasion for demanding clients that puts fire in the bellies of the Pola Group staff and makes it so much easier for them to secure new contracts. Yet there is more to be considered, such as expanding the fleet of ships, which has been a goal of the company for some time.

With shipyard costs already at an all-time high, the Pola Group has been patiently waiting for a lull in fleet-building costs, so that the already impressive haul of ships can be increased to a gargantuan 20, wholly owned. Speaking in 2015, the Pola Group gave an insight into future developments that are central to the continued success of the operation,

“Once the Chinese shipyards return to reasonable prices, our plan will be to order other new builds in order to reach a fleet of 20 owned handysize bulk carriers. After that, we will focus on the second step of the business strategy, which includes handymax and panamax ships.”

One can only imagine the types of contracts that could be feasibly tendered for, with a number of panama ships in the fleet as well, but given that close to three million tons of cargo was transported successfully in 2014, generating a turnover of $90 million, it’s safe to say that the future is definitely looking like plain sailing. But isn’t that the result of a leadership team that manages to simplify even the most complex, responsible and high-risk projects, in a bid to offer clients consistent peace of mind?

The Pola Group prefers not to offer predictions as to the future, focusing only on the here and now and hoping for an upturn in shipping rates and profitability. Having purchased the existing fleet of ships for what they describes as “low cyclical prices”, the Pola Group enjoys an enviable position,

“Our fleet has been acquired under low cyclical prices, giving us an excellent risk management position and in addition, we focus on developing nations where semi-processed and raw material play an important role in their trades.”

They went on to clarify,

“We usually load carry iron ore, coal, aluminium, steels, agricultural products, fertilisers, dangerous goods under voyages, time charters or COAs. We’re consistently extracting significant value from our operations, as freight rates and asset values improve with an overall economic recovery and at the same time offering a reliable service with competitive prices to our clients.”

And there it is; the secret to the Pola Group’s longstanding success! While other operations might not see long-term potential in the dry bulk shipping industry or envisage financial recovery and growth, the team here, do. Far from being out for every dollar possible from clients that are faced with limited options, the Pola Group strive to always offer competitive rates, reliable service and an approach to dangerous cargo transportation that sets it apart from every other competitor. What could be a tricky delivery for one freight company, which would seek to make it financially worth it’s while, is nothing more than an everyday load for the Pola Group, being priced as such with a view to securing a long-term relationship with a new client.

This show of patience is no surprise, given that the Pola Group has new ship builds lined up, but on pause, until Chinese shipyards can offer to complete the work for more competitive prices,

“When freight rates soar, Chinese shipyards will return to quoting handysize new builds at reasonable prices, which is below $20 million. We are interested and ready to sign new contracts for building handysize bulk carriers, but we are patient.”

While clients are keen to see their needs met within a timely fashion and to strict budgets, the Pola Group team recognises that behind every on-time delivery is a finely orchestrated project. It’s like a ballet, with every individual being vital for a cohesive and seemingly effortless display of strength and professionalism. It might not be de rigueur for high-level managers to sing the praises of their less executive colleagues, but things are different at the Pola Group, with executives citing their energetic, enthusiastic and experienced staff as the reason why the Pola Group looks to have such a positive future ahead of it,

“Our clients count on us to offer them flexibility, fast response times and reliability, whatever their needs. With a young fleet and a highly motivated multicultural staff, Pola firmly believes in their bright and successful future.”

Whilst the Pola Group is consistently supplying the Maritime arm with enough projects to keep it busy, the entire team has all the patience in the world, when it comes to waiting for financial markets to offer a little window of profitability. One thing is for certain though; as soon as shipyard costs reduce and the fleet can be expanded, there will be no stopping the Pola Group; so watch this space for updates.