The enthusiasm for newbuild orders across most shipping markets has started to wane after over USD 10 billion were committed in the first quarter of 2018, according to a report from VesselsValue.
The total committed to new deliveries is now the lowest since the start of 2016. Ordering trends in the start of the year were highest in the markets that recorded the highest returns. This includes the dry bulk and LNG carrier markets, while interest in the low earnings environment tanker markets was softer.
“In one sense this highlights the short-term view that some investors take of the market. It still appears to be easier to secure financing for ships in a strong market as opposed to those that are suffering in the doldrums.”
VesselsValue explained that rising asking prices from shipyards are partially to blame in the downturn in new orders. Higher steel prices, smaller workforces, and less willingness by yard creditors to accept low margins are contributing to lower buyer interest.
“The slowdown in newbuilds is an encouraging sign that over-ordering may not be a significant issue.”
Some of the market segments have a large outstanding orderbook, but most of these are offset by an equal number of ships on the water which are equal to their recycling value. If orders remain between USD 4 and 8 billion level through rest of the year it should support the asset values of younger ships as well, VesselsValue said.
The headwinds to global trade may give some owners pause in fleet renewal plans, especially in the container and dry bulk markets, however, most shipping markets appear to be at their trough level or improving.
After it acquired five container ships, German company Ernst Russ said that it is looking to expand its fleet with more vessels.
The company informed that the market environment is currently “very attractive, with historically low asset prices and a positive supply and demand ratio.”
Therefore, the company took advantage of this to acquire five feeder class vessels. Two ships were acquired as proprietary investments, while ElbFeeder, an investment vehicle established with a joint venture partner, acquired an additional three ships.
“The plan to expand the fleet through the acquisition of additional ships is currently being put into action,” Ernst Russ said.
The plans were unveiled as part of the company’s financial report, in which Ernst Russ informed that it continued to deliver positive business performance.
The company’s revenue increased 10 percent year-on-year to EUR 44 million. Consolidated net earnings before tax (EBT) came to EUR 9.3 million, following what was also a good result in the previous year of over EUR 10 million.
“On the whole, we built a good basis in 2017 for continued economic success in the future,” Jens Mahnke, CEO of Ernst Russ AG, said, summarising the stable performance of the Ernst Russ Group.
The “mantra” of 2018 has been calling for prudence from the part of ship owners, if a freight market rebound is to materialize in the tanker market, not to mention the danger looming for the sustainability of the dry bulk segment as well. Still, newbuilding contracting activity has been quite firm. Over the course of the past week, Allied Shipbroking commented that “the newbuilding market felt an uptick in activity this past week, despite the continuing sluggish mode that has been noted in the market lately. This coincided with the rebound in volume noted from the tanker sector, which countered the overall feel this market has been giving off lately. Seeing once again movement, has helped build up positive sentiment, however, this boost is embraced with hesitation by many market participants. Given the volatility of the market, it is not surprising that many are questioning these latest orders, with fears mounting as to the added pressure these new vessels may well bring come their delivery date. On the other hand, new ordering in the dry bulk market continues to remain slow, indicating that flow from that side is losing stability and becoming subject to periodical pressure or to potential opportunities that may arise. Given their more robust fundamentals, it has been surprising to see that so few have flocked to take up this ordering option window, especially when noting the significant upward pressure being seen on prices right now”, said Allied.
In a separate shipbuilding report this week, Clarkson Platou Hellas said that “in Tankers, Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) have announced signing a contract for three firm 300,000 DWT VLCCs with an unknown owner. The vessels are set for delivery within 1H 2020 from Okpo. DSME have announced winning a further order for two firm 300,000 DWT VLCCs from an unknown European owner. These two units will also deliver within 1H 2020. DSME have also announced a contract for two firm 174,000 CBM LNG Carriers for delivery in 3Q 2020 – similarly the buyer’s identity remains undisclosed. In the small sizes, Jinling Shipyard have received an order for one firm 6,500 CBM LPG/Ehylene Carrier from domestic owner Nanjing Yangyang Chemical Transport for delivery in 1Q 2020”, the shipbroker said.
Meanwhile, in the S&P market this past week, shipowners’ appetite for additional dry bulk tonnage was unabated. In its report, Allied said that “on the dry bulk side, the temporary pause came as quick as it appeared, with a exacerbated rush for deal conclusion being seen after the end of the Chinese New Year. It looks as though the situation in the freight market added significant confidence amongst buyers, while it now seems as though we may well see some increased competition emerging amongst buyers. With an extra boost from the freight market one could see how this could easily heat up the market relatively quickly, while we are likely to see most of this force focused on the more modern tonnage this time around. On the tanker side, things went back down to “quiet”, with a minimal level of vessels changing hand this week. It seems as though the recent trough in the freight market has caused many to take yet again a “wait and see” strategy, while there are still many that feel that sentiment is clouded in considerable uncertainty for now, giving mixed views amongst both buyers and sellers”, Allied Shipbroking said.
In a note this week, VesselsValue said that bulkers’ values have remained mostly stable, but with a slight firming in older panamax tonnage. “Panamax Sea Ace (81,800 DWT, Sept 2012, Longxue) sold for USD 18.5 mill, VV value USD 17.32 mill. Ultramax BW Durum (61,500 DWT, Sept 2016, Dalian COSCO) sold to Navigare for USD 25 mill, including a charter for 1 year at USD 12,000 pd. VV value 23.61 mill. Supramax Darya Vishnu (56,100 DWT, Jul 2006, Mitsui Tamano) sold to Polforce Shipping for USD 12.8 mill. VV value 12.23 mill. Supramax Polestar (53,500 DWT, Feb 2006, Imabari) sold at auction for USD 9.3 mill to Pingtan Minghui. VV value 11.36 million” said VV.
Increasing confidence in the dry bulk market’s long term recovery has triggered an increasing number of newbuilding orders over the course of the past week. In its latest weekly report, shipbroker Allied Shipbroking said that it was “an interesting week for the Newbuilding market was due, mostly attributable to the Dry Bulk sector, which pulled in its weight this week dominating the reported activity tables this past week. Despite the fact that freight market is showing some slight softening, with the BDI having eased back from its early January levels, fresh interest seems ample at this point, a mere reflection of the strong forward outlook being shared right now by most in the market. Moreover, despite overall activity being still relatively slow for the time being, we have been seeing a considerable amount of options being declared. At the same time it looks as though traders are starting to get into the game, providing ample backing for further ordering to take place. On the tanker side, things are still lacking confidence with the bearish attitude in the freight market still leaving for minimal appetite to emerge in realized new orders”.
Athens-based dry bulk shipping company M/Maritime Corp has revealed orders for three dry bulk vessels with Japanese shipbuilders.
The company said that it signed a shipbuilding contract for one 37,000 dwt bulk carrier on January 23. The vessel, which will be built by Saiki Heavy Industries, Onomichi dockyard, is scheduled to be delivered to its owners in the first quarter of 2020.
Additionally, on December 2017, clients of M/Maritime Corp signed shipbuilding contracts for two 60,200 dwt bulk carriers to be built at Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding.
Both vessels, under Hull No. 1961 and Hull No. 1962 are scheduled to be delivered to their owners between second half of 2019 and first half of 2020.
The full management of the three newbuilding vessels will be entrusted to M/Maritime Corp.
Furthermore, the company informed that a new 61,222 dwt Ultramax dry bulk carrier was handed over to its owner on January 25. Named OLYMPIA.GR, the vessel was constructed by Shin Kurushima Toyohashi Shipbuilding.
Taiwanese shipping company Wisdom Marine has returned to the Japanese shipbuilder Imabari Shipbuilding for two more bulker newbuildings.
The company said that it has earmarked around USD 49 million for the two 37,800 dwt bulk carriers.
The two ships will be bought for up to USD 24.5 million apiece.
The financing will be carried out in installments until the delivery of the ships. However, the exact delivery dates have not been specified.
The order comes on the heels of a buying spree from the end of last year which saw Wisdom Marine order two 61,000 dwt bulkers from Tokyo-based builder Kawasaki Heavy Industries and buy a 63,700 dwt bulk carrier from Chijing Shipping.
Wisdom Marine kicked off the year by welcoming two newbuilds into the fleet, the 61,950 dwt Amis Miracle, built at Oshima shipyard, and the 37,600 dwt Bunun Kalon, built at Imabari.
The latest fleet additions bring the company’s fleet to 126 vessels.
Four more newbuildings are set to join Wisdom Marine’s fleet this year, according to the company’s website data.
Six additional bulkers, taking shape at Imabari, Namura and Tsuneishi, are set to follow suit in 2019 and 2020.
Chinese tanker owner Shanghai Dingheng Shipping has inked a strategic cooperation agreement with local shipbuilders and steel and equipment manufacturers for its plan of constructing 100 ships in the next ten to twenty years.
The company’s parent Dinghen Group said that the strategic agreement was signed on January 20, 2018 in Shanghai and that the signatories included Ningbo Xinle Shipbuilding (Group) Co., Guangzhou Diesel Engine Factory, CSIC Wuhan Marine Machinery Plant, Shanghai Baosteel Special Steel Co, and CSIC Diesel Engine Co, among others.
Under the Hundred of Ships Construction Plan, the firm plans to build small and medium-sized chemical tankers.
The plan is line with the company’s ambitions of transforming itself from a local player to an international tanker owner and the One Belt, One Road Initiative.
As informed, Tunku Ismail, Prince Regent of Johor, Malaysia has expressed great interest in the program in line with Malaysia’s petrochemical strategy. In addition, the prince is said to have launched talks with Petronas, Qatar National Petroleum Corporation, Kuwait National Petroleum Company, Bahrain National Oil Company and Bahrain National Bank on providing cargo and financing for the project.
Consultations are being held with relevant authorities and definitive agreements are expected to be disclosed soon, the company said.
The shipping company’s ambitious fleet bolstering plans were hinted in October 2017, when Shanghai Dingheng Shipping inked a deal with Ningbo Xinle Shipbuilding Group on the construction of ten 9,000-tonne stainless steel chemical tankers.
Dingheng added that it had reached a preliminary agreement with the shipyard on the construction of ten additional 6,000-tonne stainless steel chemical tankers.
Ten mega boxships are set to be handed over to their owners this month making January a record month for containership deliveries.
These will include seven sea giants of 19,000-21,000 TEU set to join the ranks of CMA CGM, Maersk Line, MOL and OOCL, data from Alphaliner shows.
OOCL Indonesia boasting 21,413 TEU will be the largest containership delivered in January based on its TEU capacity.
CMA CGM Antoine de Saint Exupery with 20,776 TEU and MOL Treasure with 20, 182 TEU are set to follow suit.
Maersk Line is scheduled to take delivery of two 20,000 TEU behemoths, Manchester Maersk and Marseille Maersk of 20,568 TEU each and Maersk Hanoi of 15,282 TEU.
COSCO Shipping already took delivery of the 14, 568 TEU COSCO Shipping Alps from Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding.
The newbuilding was delivered 56 days in advance on January 3, 2018.
The company will bolster its fleet with COSCO Shipping Taurus and Aries, disposing of 20, 182 and 19,119 TEU respectively.
Japanese K Line will also have one containership join its fleet this month featuring 14,568 TEU.
January will set the stage for the rest of the year, with a record number of ULCVs ranging between 14,000 to 21,000 TEU planned for delivery in 2018, according to Alphaliner.
Chinese shipbuilder Bohai Shipbuilding Heavy Industries has received an order for up to nine Newcastlemaxes, according to broker reports.
John Fredriksen Group has been tied to an order for up to four 208,000 dwt bulkers at the yard, comprising two firm and two optional ships, Compass Maritime said in a weekly report.
The ships are scheduled for delivery in the fourth quarter of 2019, Asiasis said referring to the order.
Berge Bulk has also been linked to an order for up to four Newcastlemaxes, also two firm plus two optional vessels.
The ships are said to be slated for delivery in the first half of 2020.
The company is yet to provide World Maritime News with a comment on the matter.
Finally, Singapore’s RGL Shipping has reportedly placed an order for one Newcastlemax, to be delivered to the company in the first half of 2020.
The bulkers will be built in accordance with the NOx IMO Tier II emission standards and are priced at around USD 45 million respectively, as disclosed by Compass Maritime.
RGL Shipping and Berge Bulk have already had ships built by Bohai.
Based on the data provided by VesselsValue, Bohai delivered one Capesize bulker to Berge Bulk in 2017, the Berge Grossglockner, and is going to deliver another Capesize to the company this year, the Berge Olympus.
RGL Shipping is also set to take delivery of a Capesize newbuilding from the yard this year, the 210,000 dwt PSU Third.
Both ships are expected to be delivered to their respective owners in January.
Appetite for more newbuildings seems to be quite big during the first days of 2018. Allied Shipbroking said in its latest weekly report that “despite having only just returned from the Christmas holiday period, activity in the newbuilding market seemed to be holding firm, with several deals seemingly signed during the festive retreats. The main sector driving activity of recent is still the dry bulk market, with increased earnings driving buying interest and pushing for further units being ordered. The main activity seems to still be focused on the larger Capesize and Panamax segments, a trend that we have been noting since the summer of 2017. In terms of the rest of the orders it seems to be more a case of mix and match, with most of the m being more specialized units likely being placed to fulfill some sort of trading requirements by the buyers’ that placed them respectively. Overall, expectation is for a much more heated market in terms of activity here, with the total volume expected to likely surpass anything we have seen during the past 2-3 years”.
In a separate weekly note, Clarkson Platou Hellas said that “the Dry market has seen one order this week, with Huangpu Wenchong reported to have signed a contract for two firm 82,000 DWT Kamsarmax Bulk Carriers with domestic owner Seacon Ships. These two units will be delivered within 2019 from China. In Gas, Clients of GasLog have announced an order for one 180,000 CBM LNG Carrier with Samsung Heavy Industries. This single vessel is slated for delivery in 2019 from Samsung’s Geoje facility. There are more LNG Carrier orders to report, with Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) receiving an order for one firm plus one optional 174,000 CBM LNG Carriers from Clients of Cardiff Marine for delivery in 2020. Sovcomflot have also signed a contract with HHI for one firm plus one optional 174,000 CBM LNG Carriers, also for delivery within 2020”.
Meanwhile, in the S&P market, Allied added that “on the dry bulk side, things were relatively slow, especially when compared to the average levels we noted during the past year. This is not necessarily indicative of the buying sentiment being noted, but rather that most seemed to have retreated taking any action during the final weeks of the year, likely choosing to wait and see how the New Year freight market will go. On the tanker side, activity continued to remain slow and pretty much inline with what we have been seen during the past 12 months. Given the poor earnings and the push back by most sellers, things have become a bit more tricky here and we may well be seeing a widening gap between buyers’ and sellers’ ideas, something that would surely hamper things further”.
Ships'valuations expert VesselsValue said that in the tanker market there was a slight softening in Afra and LR1 values following a drop in earnings since the beginning of January. In the dry bulk market, VV commented that there was “firming in older Panamax and Handy tonnage. Panamax Alpha Harmony (74,500 DWT, Jul 2001, Daewoo) sold for USD 9.0 mil, VV value USD 8.53 mil. Supramax Marine Stars (53,600 DWT, Mar 2006, Dayang Shipbuilding Co) sold for USD 8.2 mil, VV value USD 9.04 mil. Open hatch Handy Bulker Blue Ocean (31,700 DWT, May 2005, Saiki) sold for USD 9.0 mil, VV value USD 7.16 million”, it concluded.