Two of Italy’s best-known shipping families are forming a dry bulk operation in the panamax and post-panamax sector.

Tanker owner Navigazione Montanari and small bulker operator Nova Marine Carriers have hooked up to form Novamont Dry.

The joint venture — based in Monaco and which expects to start operations from the start of the new year — will be headed by Italian dry cargo veterans Costantino Mussi and Pietro Repetto.

The new operation marks a diversification for tanker owner Montanari, which is based in Fano on Italy’s Adriatic coast.

Headed by Fabio Montanari, the company owns and operates crude and product tankers. However, the organisation has sought to grow its dry interest since June 2021 when it began to work closely with Italian dry specialist Mussi.

Mussi will help grow Novamont’s panamax, kamsarmax and post-panamax operation. The new operation is already understood to have been involved in a coal cargo from South Africa.

Lugano-based Nova Marine Carriers, which is headed by Italian Vincenzo Romeo, is primarily an operator of mini-bulkers.

Nova Marine Carriers is represented in Novamont by Repetto, an experienced operator of handymax, supramax and ultramax bulkers.

Critical mass

“It’s good news to put together two different companies with two different sector and to try to develop some critical mass,” Mussi said.

Nova Marine Carriers is an owner and manager of about 80 bulkers, general cargo ships and cement carriers.

The company has been very busy in the sale-and-purchase arena and has a keen eye for asset play. Earlier this year, it picked up three 39,000-dwt handysizes previously owned by the Swire China Navigation group.

Navigazione Montanari has also been purchasing vessels this year, primarily assets linked to its core tanker division.

In May, the company forked out $108m to buy five crude, product and chemical tankers and a bulker from a vehicle managed by Italian asset manager DeA Capital Alternative Fund.