Greek owner of drybulk carriers DryShips Inc. has agreed to enter into a "zero cost" option agreement to acquire up to four high specifications very large gas carriers (VLGCs) capable of carrying liquefied petroleum gas (LPG).
Each of the four VLGCs, which are currently under construction at South Korean shipyard Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI), are going to be employed on long term charters to major oil companies and oil traders. The vessels are scheduled for delivery in June, September, October and December of 2017, respectively.
Under the terms of the LPG option agreement, entered into with companies controlled by DryShips' Chairman and Chief Executive Officer George Economou, the company will have three months to exercise four separate options to purchase up to four VLGCs at a price of US$83.5m per vessel.
If DryShips exercises all four of its options, the total purchase price of the VLGC fleet will be US$334m.
The transaction has been approved by the independent directors of the company based on third party broker valuations.
DryShips said that it intends to finance any acquisition of the vessels by using cash on hand, its undrawn liquidity under the new Sifnos revolver and proceeds from its issuer managed equity transaction.
If acquired, the vessels will be managed by TMS Cardiff Gas on the same terms as the previously announced new TMS agreements.
DryShips currently operates a fleet of 13 Panamax bulk carries with a total size of 972,100 dwt, showed data provided by VesselsValue.
Singapore's gas carrier owner BW LPG Limited has received the final two of four very large gas carriers (VLGCs) in its newbuilding program from South Korea's Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME).
The two vessels, BW Mindoro and BW Messina, feature 84,000cbm and each have a market value of approximately US$66.9m.
Following delivery, BW LPG said it concluded a sale and leaseback agreement for VLGC BW Messina.
The first two ships from the batch, BW Magellan and BW Malacca, joined the company's fleet in October 2016.
Non-delivery of vessels on the orderbook, which has been a prominent theme in shipbuilding in the last decade, looks set to be increasing again this year amid troubled shipping markets, according to Clarksons Research.
In the year to date, changes to the market environment have been important across all of the major sectors, and this increased market risk looks set to drive non-delivery to record levels in full year 2016.
Based on the difference between scheduled deliveries from the start year orderbook and actual deliveries, Clarksons said that the total non-delivery increased significantly with the onset of the financial crisis, from 8% in dwt terms in 2007 to 33% in 2009. In the year to date this figure has hit 41%, and 2016 seems likely to set a new record.
In general, the uptick in non-delivery over the past two years has been driven by an increase in market risk across the major sectors amid depressed markets.
In the bulk carrier sector weak earnings have persisted through 2016, causing non-delivery to rise to 50% in dwt terms in the year to date, up from 42% in 2015. Although tanker non-delivery has fallen from 32% last year to 23% in 2016 so far, due in part to firm earnings in the first half of the year, the biggest change has been in the boxship sector, where non-delivery has risen from 13% in 2015 to 39%, following a sharp decline in rates across most ship sizes.
Weak markets have also added to owner risk, with many owners negotiating delays to the delivery of vessels, particularly bulk carriers.
Singapore's gas carrier owner BW LPG has further expanded its fleet as it took delivery of the first of four Very Large Gas Carriers (VLGCs) in its newbuilding program from Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME).
Named BW Magellan, the new VLGC measures a length of 226 meters and a width of 36.6 meters.
With a capacity of 84,000 m3, the 51,600 dwt ship has a market value of US$66.2m, according to data provided by VesselsValue.
With the latest addition, BW LPG owns and operates a fleet of 42 vessels with a total carrying capacity of over 3.1 million cbm.
The fleet comprises 37 VLGCs and five owned LGCs.
What's more, the company has five VLGC newbuildings under construction.
A double naming ceremony for Pomor and Normann, the two icebreaking offshore vessels built for the Russian shipping company Femco, will take place at Havyard Ship Technology in Norway on Oct. 15, 2016.
According to the shipbuilder, the two vessels will operate under a contract with Exxon Neftegas on the oilfields outside of Sakhalin, Russia. In order to get there, the vessels will embark on a voyage through The Northeast Passage.
Both ships, featuring a length of 86.7 meters and a width of 19.5 meters each, are constructed according to DNVs ice class notation Icebreaker Ice-10 , with classifications demanding capabilities of breaking up to one-meter-thick, one-year-old ice.
The two icebreakers are constructed with class notation Winterized Cold (-30). As such, these vessels are constructed for work in temperatures as low as minus 30 degrees Celsius without freezing up. The icebreakers' safety equipment and environment are protected against ice and frost at shielding, incorporation and electric heating or melting.
Additionally, ships are fitted with engine power effective enough to go full out winterization and anchor handling operations at the same time, according to Havyard Ship Technology.
Each of the two icebreakers will be able to accommodate up to 53 persons.
Aleut, the first ship in a series of three icebreaking offshore vessels, was delivered last autumn.
Due to depressed dry bulk market conditions, which triggered a slump in bulk carrier contracting and in turn led to the newly slim orderbook, which hit a nine-year low at the start of September, the bulk carrier fleet expansion is expected to ease in the coming years, according to Clarksons' Shipping Intelligence Network.
A dearth in ordering has seen the bulk carrier orderbook shrink fairly consistently since mid-2014.
By September 2016, the bulker orderbook had shrunk to 108.4 million dwt, down 19% since the start of the year. This was equivalent to 13.8% of the fleet, down from 17.2% at the start of 2016.
Overall, the bulker orderbook is at its slimmest for almost a decade, despite a 'non-delivery' rate of over 50% in the year to date, according to Clarksons.
Capesize contracting had been in fairly steady decline since the start of 2014, until 30 Valemax 400,000dwt orders were placed in early 2016, which units currently account for 11% of the total bulker orderbook in terms of capacity. Nevertheless, by the start of September 2016 the Capesize orderbook had contracted to a three-year low of 47.1 million dwt, also supported by a 10% YoY rise in Capesize deliveries in January-August 2016.
Meanwhile, by the start of September, the Panamax orderbook shrank to a nine-year low of 21.4 million dwt, driven by the consistent slide in contracting activity in the sector, including for Kamsarmax designs, in recent years.
In 2015, Panamax ordering totalled 6.6 million dwt, down 49% on an annual basis. This was followed by a near total collapse in reported Panamax orders in the first eight months of 2016.
Similarly, newbuild contracting activity has slumped in the smaller Handymax and Handysize sectors, in recent years, before dropping to an almost standstill in January-August 2016. This saw the Handymax and Handysize orderbooks shrink to 28.4 million and 11.5 million dwt respectively by the start of September 2016, representing a 10-year low in both cases.
Clarksons added that, at the start of September, only 60 million dwt, or 55% of the bulk carrier orderbook, was scheduled to be delivered after the close of the current calendar year. This compares to 67% in September 2015.
"The slim orderbook is currently expected to contribute to bulker fleet growth of 2% in full year 2016 followed by around 0.8% in 2017; this compares to average annual growth of around 9% in the period 2010-15," said Clarksons.
Finnish dry bulk shipping company ESL Shipping has assigned the building of its energy efficient liquefied natural gas (LNG)-fuelled bulk carriers to China's Jinling Shipyard, operated by Sinotrans & CSC Shipbuilding Industry Corporation.
The company said that the agreement reached between the parties "ensures timely delivery and highest quality of the vessels and has no effect on the contract price."
The two new, ice-class 1A ships will be the first LNG-fuelled large bulk carriers in the world, according to ESL Shipping. CO2 emissions per ton of cargo transported will be reduced by more than 50% in comparison to present vessels. The new 25,600dwt ships are expected to start operating in the Baltic Sea during first half of 2018.
"Together with Jinling Shipyard we shall make shipping more sustainable and environmentally aware than ever before," said Mikki Koskinen, Managing Director of ESL Shipping.
The total value of the investment is approximately EUR60m, ESL Shipping earlier said. The ships, announced in November 2015, will be designed by Finnish designer Deltamarin and will feature B.Delta26LNG design, equipped with both dual-fuel main and auxiliary machinery.
ESL Shipping has tapped Sinotrans & CSC Shipbuilding Industry Corporation's Jinling Shipyard to build a pair of LNG-fuelled bulk carriers.
"The two new, ice-class 1A ships will be the first LNG-fuelled large bulk carriers in the world, representing the latest in technology and innovation. CO2 emissions per ton of cargo transported will be reduced by more than 50% in comparison to present vessels," ESL claimed in a release.
The new ships will start operating in the Baltic Sea during first half of 2018.
"Together with Jinling Shipyard we shall make shipping more sustainable and environmentally aware than ever before", commented Mikki Koskinen, managing director of ESL Shipping.
Melbourne-headquartered logistics provider Toll Group, part of Japan Post, has placed a AU$170m (US$130m) order at China's CSC Jinling Shipyard, part of Sinotrans & CSC, for the construction of two 12,000dwt RoRo ships to support trade between Victoria, Australia, and Tasmania.
The new vessels will be available in late 2018 and will replace Toll's existing ships, continuing to operate overnight services, six days per week.
The new, purpose-built ships, operating between Burnie, Tasmania and Melbourne, Victoria, will provide 40 percent more freight capacity, more opportunities to transport refrigerated freight for Tasmania's growing chilled export market and more flexibility for customer deliveries, Toll said.
Toll has worked with the Port of Melbourne to secure an additional seven hectares of land in order to provide the land side infrastructure to support the increased freight capacity of the new ships.
The number of 'active' shipyards globally has more than halved since the start of 2009, falling to around 400 shipyards at the start of September 2016, with rapid growth in the total followed by steep decline all within the last decade, according to Clarkson Research.
Global contracting surged by 78% from 2002 to peak in 2007, with the orderbook peaking in 2009. With capacity expanding to meet this demand, the number of active yards skyrocketed, rising by 72% from 2005 to a peak of 931 yards in 2009.
However, since the financial crisis, the shrinking orderbook has led the number of active yards, ones which have at least one vessel (1,000+ GT) on order, to decline.
As of start September 2016 there were 402 active yards, down 57% on the 2009 peak, according to Clarkson Research.
Alongside this drop in the number of active yards, newbuild output has fallen and this year is projected to stand 34% below its 2010 peak in CGT terms.
Chinese Yards Losing Bulk
From 2005, the number of active Chinese yards grew rapidly, increasing 117% to a peak of 382 yards in 2009. Many of the new yards specialised in the bulk carrier sector. Since then, the number of active Chinese yards has dropped by 63%, with almost half of these closures accounted for by 'small' yards that had delivered two ships or fewer.
There were just 140 active Chinese yards at the start of September 2016, or around 35% of all active yards globally. The number of active yards in Japan has been more steady, peaking at 71 in 2008, before falling 17% by September 2016, when 59 were reported to have an orderbook.
At the same time, larger Korean yards have mostly remained active up to today. Elsewhere, post-2008, European yards struggled to compete for the more limited number of orders.
By September 2016, 140 fewer European yards were active than back in 2008.
Challenge to Be Active
Clarkson Research said that, looking ahead, many active yards appear vulnerable today. Around 240 currently active shipyards are scheduled to deliver their last units on order by the end of 2017.
Some of these yards may yet receive orders or have deliveries delayed, however, around a quarter of active yards have only a single ship on order, while around 40% are not reported to have taken a contract since 2014.
Only 59 builders have deliveries due into 2019 and beyond.
"The number of active yards has more than halved since 2009, with a prominent feature being the exit of many Chinese builders from the scene. With ordering levels likely to remain subdued going forward, some shipyards that do not already have substantial orderbooks may also find remaining active a challenge," Clarksons' Christopher Pearce said.