Market sentiment maybe in a better place over the course of the past few months, both in the dry bulk and in the wet markets, but newbuilding ordering activity is still showing large spikes week-in week-out. In its latest weekly report, shipbroker Allied Shipbroking said that “the fluctuation in activity in the Newbuilding market keeps the market on its toes, with the scene changing dramatically even on weekly basis. After building a strong trajectory over the past couple of weeks, indicating that we have entered in a firm final quarter, this past week showed us in turn that the healthy volume noted previously can’t be taken for granted. It is true that the slight downward correction in the Dry freight market, which troubled most as to its underlining meaning, has played its part in keeping the order placing to minimum levels. Taking into account also that the Tanker side, after a rather vivid week, returned to the indolent mode previously noted, the two main driving sectors were now lagging in interest, unable to boost the activity further. Given the volatility and the fact that a small turn in earning and/or the outlook can be of immediate impact in the investment planning of the market participants, it wouldn’t be to anyone’s surprise if activity in terms of new orders was on the rise once more”.
Meanwhile, in the S&P market this week, Allied Shipbroking said that “on the dry bulk side, we are still seeing a fair amount of activity though slightly softer than what had been noted during the past couple of weeks. Interest amongst buyers has been curtailed to some degree by the slight correction noted recently in terms of freight rates, though this is only a short term effect and we will likely push back into firmer interest in the coming days. At the same time prices are holding steady for the time being, with a further boost in freight rates being now required apparently in order to pull up buyers from their seats and drive for further competition to be noted. On the tanker side, we had a notable rise in activity this week, with a fair amount of units changing hands even in the larger size segments. Despite limited information being reported in terms of pricing for these most recent concluded deals, it looks as though prices are still holding at their current levels and may well even have some slight price rises in stall as prospects start to perk up”.
In a note this week, VesselsValue, a ships’ valuations expert said that “values have remained stable this month again. “Suezmax Hull 1304 (158,000 DWT, Dec 2017, Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding) sold for USD 49.8 mil, VV value USD 52.23 million”. In the bulker segment, “a slight firming in Panamax and Supramax values has occurred. Supramax Spring Eagle (58,500 DWT, Jun 2010, Tsuneishi Cebu) sold for USD 15.35 mil, VV value USD 15.28 mil. Open Hatch King Yukon (32,300 DWT, Mar 2009, Kanda) sold for USD 10.5 mil, VV value USD 10.46 million”, VV concluded.
Greek drybulk shipping firm DryShips has expanded its fleet with a third newbuilding very large gas carrier (VLGC).
The high specifications vessel, capable of carrying liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), will be employed under a time charter on a fixed rate with ten years firm duration to an oil major trading company.
Expected total gross backlog associated with this time charter is up to USD 103.8 million, DryShips said.
Since the beginning of this year, the company has expanded its fleet with 16 vessels. Its fourth VLGC is scheduled to be handed over in January 2018.
In January 2017, DryShips enter into a "zero cost" option agreement to purchase up to four high specifications VLGCs, which were under construction at South Korean shipyard Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI).
The ships in question were bought at a price of USD 83.5 million per unit.
DryShips earlier informed that the acquisition would be financed by using cash on hand, its undrawn liquidity under the new Sifnos revolver and proceeds from its issuer managed equity transaction.
On the heels of the two orders by containership majors CMA CGM and MSC for 22,000 TEU ships, the market fears there is a risk other carriers might follow suit further distorting demand-supply balance, which is already suffering from tonnage oversupply.
To remind, Mediterranean Shipping Company has opted for Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME) to build eleven 22,000 TEU containerships for the company. On the other hand, French liner CMA CGM has ordered nine 22,000 TEU containerships which will be built by Chinese shipyards Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding and Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding (SWS).
Shipping consultancy Drewry believes that the ordering spree for more megaships is unlikely due to a combination of financing constraints, latent market overcapacity and the size of the existing orderbook.
Namely, banks have reduced their financing of the highly volatile shipping sector amid regulatory pressures to increase impairments associated with shipping loans. This has, in turn, resulted in shipping companies having to resort to alternative financing means which are rather scarce.
Furthermore, Drewry doesn’t believe that a new generation of much larger vessels will emerge in the long term. This is attributed to the diminishing economies and the fact that unit cost savings at sea are countered by higher costs at port.
As a result, this is expected to reduce the incentive to invest in ever larger vessels and act as a break on over ordering and excess capacity.
The port sector has already been faced with growing pressure from ever-larger ships as ports had to invest considerably in infrastructure so as to be able to accommodate these giants of the seas.
Between 2000 and 2016, a total of USD 68.8 billion in private investment was committed across 292 port projects aimed at improving port infrastructure and superstructures, according to the data from UNCTAD’s latest report Review of Maritime Transport 2017.
"Pressure from shipping lines to expand and dredge so as to accommodate ever larger ships, especially for transshipment operations, may not be worth the extra cost. Without additional volumes, increasing ship size alone will reduce the effective capacity of seaports as they would require larger yards and additional equipment to handle the same total volume," the report adds.
Rosier outlook for the future of the shipping markets has prompted a series of renewed newbuilding ordering activity, with dry bulk carriers leading the foray. In its latest weekly report, shipbroker Allied Shipbroking said that "for a second week in a row, we see a healthy volume in terms of ordering, confirming in a way the expressed anticipation early on in the year for a strong newbuilding market for the later part of this year. In the dry bulk sector, even if activity has considerably slowed down compared to previous weeks, we have seen another modest flow of new orders emerging this week, with the uptrend in momentum and the positive outlook coming from the freight market helping feed the market with more and more buying interest. On the other hand, for the tanker sector things remain pretty uncertain, with a mixed sentiment among the interested parties, keeping new ordering activity to a minimum. Having seen some notable movement this past week, we have yet to identify how things will be effected once we start to see a strong rise in quoted prices, or will an over confident shipbuilding industry hamper the positive momentum being noted with a too sudden rise in prices. As things stand down, with a further boost being seen from the financing aspect of things, there is an overall anticipate of the volume of new orders placed to continue strong", Allied said.
In a separate newbuilding report, shipbroker Clarkson Platou Hellas said that there were "a couple of orders to report in the newbuilding market this week. In Dry, Jiangsu New YZJ have won an order for two firm plus two optional 180,000 DWT Capesize Bulk Carriers from Mosvold Shipping. The two firm units are set for delivery within 2019. In Gas, Vitol have extended their series of 84,000 CBM VLGCs at Hyundai Heavy Industries by declaring an option for two more vessels. Being delivered in 2Q and 3Q 2019, the duo will be the 3rd and the 4th vessels in the series".
Meanwhile, in the second sales market, Allied noted that "on the dry bulk side, a fair amount of activity was reflective of the still ample buying interest seen in the market. Prices seemed to have momentarily plateaued , as most see the current price levels as a touch high given the overall freight market conditions noted. If the positive momentum however continues over the next couple of months in terms of earnings, it shouldn't be long before intense competition amongst buyers starts to mount once more, further driving asset prices up relatively quick. On the tanker side, activity continues to remain limited with a very limited number of units changing hands. We were able to see another VLCC change hands this week, with prices still remaining under pressure and having started to entice some buyers who are looking to grab any bargain opportunities that emerge. There is still however a sense amongst buyers that prices still have further drops to show", the shipbroker concluded.
In a separate note, ships' valuations expert VesselsValue said that in the tanker market, "values have remained stable this week with very few sales. VLCC Fujikawa (300,000 DWT, Apr 2004, Universal) sold for USD 27.2 mil to Dynacom Tankers with DD freshly passed, VV value USD 26.75 million". In the dry bulk segment, VV noted that "values have firmed for Capesize and Handysize vessels. Choully (182,000 DWT, Apr 2016, Japan Maritime United) sold for USD 44.8 mil, VV value USD 42.5 mil. Guan Hai 228 (80,000 DWT, Jun 2012, Fujian Guanhai) sold for USD 15.1 mil, VV value USD 15.3 mil. Neptune Pioneer (56,000 DWT, Apr 2007, Mitsui Tamano) sold for USD 12.5 mil, VV value USD 12.6 million". Finally, in the container market, VV said that values have remained stable in smaller tonnage. MPC Containers have bought the Tiger Goman (1,338 TEU, Dec 2007, Jiangsu Yangzijiang) and HS Liszt (1,350 TEU, Mar 2008, Jiangsu Yangzijiang) for USD 7 mil each both SS Due, VV value USD 7.38 mil and USD 7.65 mil respectively", it concluded.
The insatiable appetite for bulker newbuilds continued into last week as brokers reported orders for at least 14 bulker newbuilds being ordered.
The Chinese shipyards were the preferred choice for owners, with Jiangsu Yangzijiang Shipbuilding Group scoring a huge chunk of placed orders.
Namely, aside to Navibulgar's order for up to six 45,000 DWT bulkers World Maritime News reported on last week, Yangzijiang has secured orders for up to six more bulkers.
According to Intermodal Research and Valuations, Japanese Lepta Shipping has ordered one 180,000 DWT bulker from the yard and has an option to add one more vessel of the same size to its ordering tally. In addition, Norwegian Kumar has placed an order for two firm plus two optional 180,000 DWT Capesizes at the yard.
The three orders will keep the yard busy for the following two years, as the new ships are slated to start delivery in 2019 and continuing into 2020.
Chinese shipyard Dalian COSCO KHI Ship Engineering (DACKS) has been linked to an order for two Ultramax bulkers of 61,000 DWT placed by Singaporean Eastern Pacific. The company is said to be paying USD 24 million per ship, scheduled to join their owner in 2019.
Two more bulker orders have been tied to Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding (SWS). Based on the data from Intermodal, Chinese Foremost Group exercised options for two 180,000 DWT bulkers at the yard, which are also set for delivery in 2019.
Since the beginning of the second half of this year, shipowners have ramped up dry bulk ordering, bringing the newbuild count to 110 new ships from July to September 2017.
The number has almost doubled when compared to 63 newbuilding orders from the first half of this year, according to the data from VesselsValue.
Ship owners are still mostly bullish when it comes to committing future capital for newbuilding investments. In its latest weekly report, Allied Shipbroking said that "we are still seeing a fair amount of activity emerge on the dry bulk side, as buying appetite continues to be firm with most looking to tie up any still available TIER II slots before the window of opportunity is closed shut. In this regard it is already proving difficult with only a hand full of yards still able to offer TIER II designs. At the same time, the rally that has been noted in the secondhand market has also helped boost appetite amongst ship owners, with the price gap between a modern vessel and a newbuilding closing fast and given that newbuilding prices are likely to climb over the next couple of months, many may well be placing these orders on speculation of an opportunity to flip them as resales at a later date and net the positive difference that they feel will be at hand. At the same time, shipbuilders have come out to market with a more aggressive marketing run, now looking to entice any potential buyers, while sentiment is high. This however is still mainly limited to Chinese shipbuilders, with S. Korean yards still out of play due to their requirements for higher prices and Japanese yards seemingly well occupied up until early 2020", Allied said.
In a separate newbuilding note, Clarkson Platou Hellas said that "this week in Tankers, DSD Shipping have extended their series of 50,000 DWT MR Tankers at Hyundai Vinashin by declaring an option for two additional units. Set for delivery in 2020, the duo will be the 3rd and 4th vessels in the series. Whilst there is nothing to report in other sectors, there are a couple in the Passenger / Cruise market. Fincantieri have announced an order for one 40,700 GT Cruise Ship by Silversea Cruises. Delivering in 2020, the vessel will be able to accommodate 596 passengers. VARD have won an order for one approx. 5,000 GT Cruise Ship from Coral Expeditions for delivery in 1Q 2019. This single unit will be built at VARD's Vung Tau facility in Vietnam and will be able to carry 120 passengers".
Meanwhile, in the S&P market, ships' valuations expert VesselsValue noted that it has been a quiet week for bulker sales, with values remaining stable. "Supramax Rak Ana (50,800 DWT, Jun 2000, Oshima) sold for USD 6 mil, VV value USD 6.54 million. Handy Bulker Zenith Explorer (28,300 DWT, Aug 2008, Imabari) sold for USD 8 mil, VV value USD 7.79 million." It added that in the tanker market, "few sales have taken place this week again with all values remaining stable. Isuzugawa (300,000 DWT, Jan 2004, Universal) sold to Eastern Mediterranean for USD 25.8 mil, VV value USD 26.05 million. The MR1 Tanker FD Sea Wish (40,000 DWT, Sep 2002, SLS) sold for USD 7.5 mil, VV value USD 8.82. The vessel sold in a bank sale with SS Due September 2017", VV concluded.
In a separate note, Allied Shipbroking said that "on the dry bulk side, things seemed to have eased slightly though not necessarily due to lack of interest. Activity this week mainly revolved around the Panamax and Supramax sizes, with prices now showing further gains as competition amongst buyers heats up further. Sellers are seemingly a bit reluctant to act quick in this market, feeling that better numbers will be seen in the next couple of months and choosing as such to take a "wait and see" strategy for now. Given that there seems to still be positive wind to be felt in the freight market and with the recent rally in rates only just getting started, things should get more busy over the next couple of weeks. On the tanker side, there was some slight improvement in activity to be seen with deals being noted in the VL and Suezmax space as well. Prices are still lingering at relatively low levels, while the lack of confidence that has been spilling over from the freight market has heavily effected sale & purchase activity for some time now", the shipbroker concluded.
A 2017-built Aframax tanker, Seacalm, has joined the managed fleet of Greek shipping company Thenamaris.
The tanker, which was constructed by Japan’s shipbuilder Sumitomo, features a length of 237 meters and a beam of 44 meters.
The tanker’s current market value stands at USD 44.2 million, according to VesselsValue data.
The 112,000 DWT Seacalm became a part of Thenamaris’ 76-vessel strong fleet, which consists of 50 tankers.
The company has six more ships under construction at various yards, scheduled to join the fleet in 2017 and 2018, respectively.
Ship owners are eager to build for the future, as new rules and regulations are bound to make life more difficult in the future and having a vessel which is unsuitable for service can be a major liability. In its latest weekly report, shiproker Allied Shipbroking said that “activity looks to be back in the market now, with August showing the highest level of new contracts having been placed in the year so far for some sectors. There still seems to be significant appetite amongst buyers out there and shipbuilders look to have mobilized their marketing strategies once more in an effort to take full benefit of the current opportunity. The rise in secondhand prices in the dry bulk sector has also helped a fair amount, placing the current newbuilding prices on offer in a more competitive and favorable light. At the same time sentiment seems to be very firm right now amongst dry bulk owners, given the current performance being noted in the freight market, which will surely start to attract more ship owners towards this option. Having said that, there still seems to be considerable problems with regards to arranging for financing of most of these new contracts under talks, while there are rumors that several owners are still facing difficulties in securing letters of guarantee for contracts they have signed”, Allied said.
In a separate weekly note, shipbroker Intermodal said that “if there is one thing that has been completely unaffected by volatility in the freight market in the past months this is newbuilding activity. Additional dry bulk and tanker orders have surfaced last week, evidencing the strong momentum newbuilding contracting still enjoys and while the performance of the dry bulk market explains partly the ordering enthusiasm in the sector, the steady tanker ordering is certainly raising a few eyebrows given the disappointing earnings crude carriers have witnessed so far in 2017. Following the most recent VLCC order by Hyundai merchant Marine, NYK is reported to also have added four VLs to its orderbook. In this case all orders are placed on the back of long term employment, which is always removing a substantial element of risk for the owner, but the market effect is not different and that is a quickly increasing orderbook in a fleet the average age of which is less than fifteen years. In terms of recently reported deals, Japanese owner, NYK, placed an order for three firm VLCCs (300,000 dwt) at JMU, in Japan for a price in the region of $80.0m each and delivery set in 2019”, said Intermodal.
Meanwhile, Clarkson Platou Hellas said that “in Tankers, DSME have announced an order for five firm plus five optional 300,000 DWT VLCCs from Hyundai Merchant Marine. The five firm units are set for delivery within 2019 from Okpo, Korea. JMU and Namura have also won an order for four firm 310,000 DWT VLCCs from an unknown owner. Three vessels will be built by JMU and one vessel will be built by Namura, all for bareboat charter to NYK when delivered throughout 2019 and 2020. Thun Tankers have extended their series of 17,500 DWT Chemical/Product Tankers at AVIC Dingheng by declaring an option for one additional vessel. This would be the 5th unit in the series and will be delivered in 1H 2020. Fujian Mawei have signed a contract with domestic owner Haixin Tanker Corp. for one 15,000 DWT Product Carrier for delivery in 1H 2019. There is one order to report in Dry this week. COSCO Zhoushan have received an order for four firm plus two optional plus two optional 82,000 DWT Kamsamax Bulk Carriers from Clients of Aegean Shipping Management. The four firm vessels are scheduled to be delivered in 2H 2019 from China”, the shipbroker concluded.
The second newbuilding very large gas carrier (VLGC) has joined DryShips’ fleet, the Greek shipowner said.
The VLGC will be employed under a time charter on a fixed rate with five years firm duration to an unnamed oil major.
The charterer has options to extend the firm employment period by up to three years. DryShips expects a total gross backlog from the time charter to reach USD 92.7 million including the optional periods.
In June this year, the company took delivery of its first ultra large gas carrier, the 78,700 cbm Anderida, built by Hyundai Samho Heavy Industries.
The Maltese-flagged LPG carrier was chartered out to an oil major for a firm employment of up to three years with the expected gross backlog from the charter totaling in USD 92.7 million.
Since the beginning of this year, DryShips has taken delivery of 15 vessels and expects to take delivery of two more by the end of the year.
Since November 2016, the company has raised approximately USD 688 million of equity that has been used to acquire 17 vessels with an average age of two years for a total cost of USD 772.4 million, of which USD 606.2 million has been advanced so far.
At the end of August, the Greek shipowner was subpoenaed by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) which requested documents and information regarding the company's share offerings made between June 2016 and July 2017.
"The company is providing the requested information to the SEC," DryShips said, announcing the results for the second quarter of 2017.
Newbuilding orders are bound for a quick pick up of pace over the next few weeks, as buying interest from ship owners is more than active, in a reverse of the trend set over the course of the previous year. In its latest weekly report, shipbroker Allied Shipbroking noted that "there was a fair amount of activity to be reported during the past two weeks, despite being right in the midst of the summer holiday season. We started to see a good flow of interest emerge amongst owners, while this should surely gain momentum over the coming weeks as we enter the Autumn period and prospects start to show a brighter side in terms of trade growth. A big part has also been played by the emergence of new financing structures over the past couple of months, which having been tested now to some degree and worked with some of the bigger names in the market, shipbuilders have started to take on a bigger marketing push which will surely pay its dividends moving forward. In terms of pricing we are still seeing things hold stable, though given that activity has started to show fresh signs of life, there could now be extra room being created for a further upward push in terms of pricing", said the shipbroker.
In a separate newbuilding report, Clarkson Platou Hellas said that there were "a few orders to report since previous week, albeit some just coming to light having been firmed up earlier in the summer. In the dry market, clients of Angelakos are understood to have placed an order for 4 firm plus two optional 82,000dwt bulk carriers at Yangzijiang Shipbuilding – the deal is understood to have been signed in July and the vessels to be delivering from early 2019 onwards. Meanwhile it has been reported that Foremose Maritime have returned to Oshima to order a pair of 85,000dwt bulk carriers, both for delivery in 2020. This looks to be a continuation of their relationship with the yard, having taken delivery of four vessels of this size over the past year. In Tankers, Socatra are understood to have placed an order at Avic Dingheng in China for 2+1 IMO II chemical tankers of 7,950 dwt. Both the firm units are understood to be delivering in 2019. In the container sector, the Pasha Group have announced they have signed a deal for 2+2 x 2,525 TEU Container carriers to be built at Keppel AmFELS in Texas. These Jones act ships will be delivered in 2020 and will be constructed with dual fuel LNG bunkering capacity", the shipbroker said.
Meanwhile, on the S&P market, Allied Shipbroking said that "on the dry bulk side, boosted sentiment over-spilling from the improving freight market seemed to have brought about a strong buying interest, with activity picking up considerably over the past couple of weeks. We witnessed a strong interest for most of the larger size segments while prices have already started to show signs of making strong gains. Overall it seems as though confidence in the potential prospects of the market has once again resumed and we should see things improve further over the coming months. On the tanker side, activity was relatively slow over the past couple of weeks with only a handful of units changing hands over the two week period being reported, while the majority involved tonnage in the smaller size segments of the market. Prices continue to remain under pressure, though there is now hope that things may improve slightly as we enter in to the autumn season which traditionally has shown better activity levels".
In a separate note, ships' valuations expert VesselsValue said that bulker values have remained stable. "Privatlantic (75,100 DWT, Feb 2012, Sasebo) sold for USD 18.5 mil, VV value USD 17.97 mil. There has been an en bloc deal of 4 Ultramax vessels Tiger Tiangin, Zhejiang, Hongkong and Beijing (63,500 DWT, 2015, Chengxi) for USD 80 mil. In mid age tonnage Ocean Leader (56,100 DWT, Jan 2010, Mitsui Ichihara) was sold for USD 14.5 mil, VV value USD 14.26 million", VV concluded.