After a subdued 2016 in terms of newbuilding orders, 2017 proved to be a totally different story, as owners took advantage of the aggressive pricing from shipyards. In its latest report, shipbroker Allied Shipbroking noted that “the newbuilding market remained overall subdued this year in terms of volume, although overall we did see considerably more activity than what we were noting back in 2016. The freight market rallies noted in the Dry Bulk Sector, helped feed a slightly more speculative attitude in the market, although this was relatively minimal when compared to previous years. In the Tanker market, despite the deteriorating conditions in terms of earnings, we witnessed a renewed interest in new orders, with most likely looking at the market with an opportunistic eye, taking advantage of the lower prices on offer by most shipbuilders. An important fact to point out is that both these sectors have seen their orderbooks decreased in all main size segments. This improved orderbook ratio can be of major importance moving forward, allowing many to take on the option for further ordering in the new year without considerable fear that it would put excessive supply weight on the markets”.
In a separate newbuilding report, Clarkson Platou Hellas said that it was “an interesting week in the newbuilding market, with contracting activity to report across a number of sectors. In tankers, GSI have received a series of orders from domestic owner COSCO Shipping Energy Transportation, with three firm 114,000 DWT Crude Aframax Tankers, two firm 109,900 DWT LR2 Product Tankers and two firm 64,900 DWT Tankers. The vessels will be delivered throughout 2019 and 2021 from GSI’s Nansha facility. In Dry, Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding (SWS) have won an order for two firm 208,000 DWT Newcastlemaxes from Foremost Maritime for delivery in 2020. Foremost Maritime have already ordered four Capesize Bulk Carriers at SWS earlier this year. 2020 Bulkers have extended their series of 208,000 DWT Newcastlemaxes at New Times by declaring an option for two additional vessels. Set for delivery in 2019 and 2020, these will be the 3rd and 4th vessels in the series. COSCO Shipping Specialised Carriers have declared an option for one 62,000 DWT Open Hatch Bulk / Pulp Carrier at COSCO Dalian. The vessel will deliver in 3Q 2019 and is backed by a long-term COA to Suzano Pulp and Paper. The Gas market has seen two orders this week, starting with Phoenix Tanker (MOL) placing an order for one firm 82,000 CBM VLGC at Kawasaki Heavy Industries. This will be built from Kawasaki’s Sakaide facility and delivered within 2019. Furthermore, Exmar LPG have announced an order for two firm 79,500 CBM VLGCs which have been contracted at a yet to be named yard, for delivery in 2020. This order has been placed by Exmar having successfully secured a long term TC for the vessels from Statoil. In the Container market, Quanzhou Ansheng in China have ordered twelve firm 640 TEU Container Carriers at three domestic shipyards. The Buyer has awarded four units to Fujian Southeast Shipbuilding, four units to Fujian Mawei Shipbuilding and another four units to Nantong Xiangyu. All vessel will be delivered within 2019”, Clarkson Platou Hellas concluded.
Meanwhile, in the S&P market, Allied noted that “on the dry bulk side, the Christmas holidays seem to have taken its toll on activity, with the week closing off with a significant drop in reported transactions compared to previous weeks. Buying interest seems to have gradually waned over the past couple of weeks, as most investors take a pause to see the direction the market will take in the first few weeks of the New Year which will seem crucial in dictating the tempo the rest of the first half of the year will take. On the tanker side, activity seemed to be slightly firmer, however it is here too that we will likely see a further drop in activity over the coming days as the days close to the Christmas holidays and New Year tend to be slightly sluggish, especially during a period were the freight market is not showing any great signs of exuberance”, the shipbroker concluded.