Hamburg shipbroker Harper Petersen has gained responsibility for chartering of E.R. Schiffahrt's fleet of 21 bulk carriers including capesize, panamax and supramax tonnage.

The move signals a concentration of chartering activities within the E.R. Capital group of German owner Erck Rickmers. E.R. Schiffahrts - the group's ship management affiliate - has had its container ship fleet exclusively marketed by Harper Petersen for years but was keeping its bulk chartering activities in house. The broking company, one of the leading players in the container ship charter market, is a joint venture between E.R. and Rickmers Group - the shipping company of Erck's older brother Bertram.

The transfer of chartering of the 21 bulk carriers to Harper Petersen will also see E.R.'s head of bulk chartering, Björn Andersen, switch over to Harper Petersen where he will head the newly formed bulk desk.

The bulk carriers are operated on time charter trips in the spot market and on period charters. The supramax contingent of the fleet used to be entered in Norway's Klaveness pool but is now separately marketed as the Harper Petersen pool, a company representative said.