zoom Hamburg-based shipping companies, Ahrenkiel Steamship and H. Vogemann Reederei, are merging their activities involving the technical management of bulk carriers. The joint venture set up for this purpose, with the name of Ahrenkiel Vogemann Bulk (AVB), will manage a fleet of 14 bulk carriers with a total freight capacity of around 1 million dwt, including three vessels of Hamburg-based KG Reederei Roth.The fleet’s focus is currently on the Supramax and Panamax segments, but there are plans to branch out into other size categories, the companies said. Two new Handysize vessels, expected to go into service at Reederei Roth in the first quarter of 2017, will be managed by AVB.Ahrenkiel Steamship and Vogemann had already established a joint pool for Supramax bulk carriers last year. The new joint venture will have its operational base at Vogemann’s business premises in Hamburg-Rotherbaum. Vogemann will take charge of chartering for the bulk carriers managed by AVB.“In establishing the joint venture we are significantly extending our expertise in the bulk carrier area, which complements our existing focus on the midsize container ship segment. The strategic merger of bulk operations brings huge advantages for both partners because by combining our efforts we can now offer a unified market presence and a broad range of services. We are open to other partners joining,” said Dr Michael Silies, CEO of Ahrenkiel Steamship and Director of the new joint venture AVB.The market for bulk carriers is one of the areas of merchant shipping to have stabilised in recent months, the companies said. After touching a low of 300 points in February 2016, the Baltic Dry Index has experienced a resurgence over the remainder of the year. In November the BDI moved above 1,200 points, its highest level since the end of 2014.Jens-Michael Arndt, Managing Partner of the H. Vogemann Group, said: “In today’s difficult market environment close cooperation among partners is crucial. By pooling the partners’ capacities we are boosting our competitiveness in the technical management of bulk carriers and have plans to expand this area further over the coming months.”The majority shareholder of AVB is Ahrenkiel Steamship.