Germany-based shipping company Rickmers Group and Oaktree Capital Management have partnered to invest in eight eco-designed newbuild container vessels, along with options for eight more.
Under the partnership, Rickmers will provide its expertise in ship building, ship management and asset management.
The partnership will offer solutions that will help shipping companies to reduce their operational expenses and move less efficient tonnage out of their networks by using the new, more economical vessels.
Rickmers Holding deputy CEO and CFO Dr Ignace Van Meenen said: "Against the background of the continued crisis in ship financing, Oaktree and Rickmers are presenting a new way of cooperation between private equity and the shipping sector for investments in state-of-the-art vessels."
Rickmers will implement a lifecycle approach, which includes design, newbuilding and ship management services, to make sure the vessels will be cost-efficient and reliable throughout their lifetimes.
Rickmers will also be responsible for construction supervision, fleet management and commercial management.
The vessels are planned to be built at Asian shipyards, with scheduled delivery between 2014 and 2015.
The vessels will be built based on modern designs focussing on environmental compliance and operational, load and fuel efficiency.
Rickmers Holdings CEO Ronald Widdows said that the partnership with Oaktree will help in the development of new capital sources for the shipping sector.
"It allows us to begin to respond to the need to start investing in the tonnage of the future, offering liner carriers an attractive alternative to replace their existing higher cost fleet," Widdows said.
Oaktree managing director Hermann Dambach said: "We firmly believe in the shipping sector as an attractive field for investment, where the demand for higher fuel efficiency and environmentally compliant vessels will cause a constantly increasing need for the introduction of new vessels equipped with the latest technology."