Bangladesh demolition sector was again plunged into uncertainty last week on news that the recent court order allowing yards to reopen was only temporary.
According to local reports, Chittagong yards may have to go back to court to secure permission to continue beaching vessels.
The news prompted rates to jump north as buyers rushed to secure prompt tonnage ahead of any potential new regulatory hiccups for the market.
Recent sales included a large 171,924 gt capesize bulk carrier that fetched a formidable price and is almost certainly bound for Chittagong.
The 1988-built, 41,500 ldt Alster N, operated by Neu Seeschiffarht, was reported sold for delivery to Bangladesh for $505 per ldt, or just under $21m.
In another deal last week, China Shipping’s 1982-built, 9,145 ldt bulk carrier Bao Tong Hai was reported sold for delivery to Bangladesh for $500 per ldt, or nearly $4.6m.
The Baltic Exchange's main sea freight index, which tracks rates to ship dry commodities, rose for a fourth session on Wednesday, helped by grains and coal demand carried on smaller vessels.
The index rose 0.77 percent to 1,302 points.
"The BDI gained 10 points today, driven by strong performance in the panamax market," Dahlman Rose & Co said.
The Baltic's panamax index .BPNI gained 5.52 percent, with average daily earnings rising to $13,185. Panamax vessels usually transport 60,000-70,000 tonne cargoes of coal or grains.
Floods and cyclones in Australia in February had hit coal production, and some producers are still struggling to return to normal operations, hurting capesize activity. Weather-related and logistics problems at Brazilian ports have also disrupted iron ore shipments from there.
Brokers said an expected strengthening of iron ore imports into China in the second quarter was likely to provide modest support as the freight market continued to struggle with rising fleet growth.
The main index has fallen by over 25 percent this year as rising ship supply has outpaced demand for commodities.
The Baltic's capesize index .BACI fell 0.76 percent, with average daily earnings inching lower to $6,545 after making modest gains on Tuesday. Capesizes typically haul 150,000 tonne cargoes such as iron ore and coal.
"The misery continues," broker Fearnleys said. "The crisis caused by the unprecedented flow of newbuilding (capesize) deliveries is now being ever more felt on the cross-trades."
The Baltic's main index, which tracks the cost of shipping key commodities such as iron ore, cement, grain and coal, has more than halved in the past six months to below 1,500 points, close to levels last seen during the financial crisis in 2008.
While there are indications of some vessel cancellations and delays, analysts expect deliveries to gather pace between 2011 and 2012, putting further pressure on dry bulk earnings.
"We believe the dry bulk shipping market is likely to remain challenging for the foreseeable future, given the significant number of new shipyard deliveries," said securities and investment bank Jefferies in a note.
60 LNG carriers set to be booked Orders for LNG carriers, which have been sluggish until last year, are expected to be placed in full swing from this year. And we raise our evaluation to "overweight" on shipbuilding stocks, the Taurus Investment & Securities Co., LTD. said on May 3.
With the launch of the Qatari LNG project in the mid 2000s, a lot of orders for LNG carriers have been placed until 2007. However, from 2008 on, orders plummeted, with 4 ships in 2008, 0 ships in 2009 and 5 ships in 2010. So, LNG issue has not been discussed much.
But things have changed and demand for natural gases is likely to increase in mid-European countries, Central and South Africa, and Southeastern Asian countries.
European countries increase LNG imports in order to their dependancy on LNG from Russia, and Central and South Africa start to use natural gas as a new energy source. Southeastern Asian countries are likely to increase LNG imports due to increase in domestic demand and depletion of existing LNG.
Also on the production side, new projects are expected to be launched. Projects for producing a total of 240,000,000 tons of LNG(140,000,000 tons in Australia, 50,000,000 tons in the US and 50,000,000 tons in Russia) can be launched. If countries like Canada, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and Nigeria join the projects, projects worth about 300,000,000 tons are expected.
"Just simple calculation suggests around 386 LNG carriers will be needed to carry the gas and to do this, orders for 60 additional LNG carriers will have to be placed in the future. The fact that Golar LNG, which is not engaged in any LNG production project, ordered 6 ships recently shows sharp increase in orders for LNG carriers is expected", said Taurus Investment & Securities Co., LTD. researcher, Sang-hoo Lee.
Drastic increase in LNG carrier order is expected from 2012, and fierce competition between shipbuilders in South Korea and China are expected. South Korean shipbuilders, which are the world's strongest players in building LNG carriers, will have advantageous position in the competition, Lee added.
Since the beginning of 2011, there has been a significant drop in ordering levels for sectors such as the dry bulk and wet markets compared to last year.
“By this point in 2010, we had already seen over 94 new orders in the wet sector compared to only 23 so far this year. On the dry side, the story follows in a similar vein, with 113 new reported orders in 2011 compared to 348 new orders in 2010," Clarksons says.
However, there has been significant evidence of activity in other sectors such as containerships, offshore and gas with the revival in container activity particularly significant.
In this sector we have seen a substantial increase in the number of orders, with over 81 new contracts placed thus far this year, in comparison to only 6 vessels ordered in the similar period of 2010.
With high profile contracts having also been signed in both the Offshore and Gas sectors, again something missing in the during the early stages of 2010, the yards have found their positions far more stable thus allowing them to push into the next stage of 2011 with continued optimism” said Clarksons’ report.
The MEG VLCC market continued to limp along with fairly steady activity, but only minor adjustments to rates. With some 65 fixtures done for May and steady supply of tonnage charterers seem to have no rush to secure cover for their remaining May stems, nor to have fear about any major change in present rate levels. VLCC owners might see some more demand ex WAFR due to renewed activity for SMAX but doubtful enough to boost present meagre earnings. The Atlantic Suezmax market weakened somewhat mainly due to the long wedding weekend, but has regained speed this week with renewed interest from charterers. The MED/Black Sea Suezmax activity remains quiet and has so far not come back to life after the holidays and the rates softened. Aframax rates in the Nsea/Baltic gained strength last week due to tonnage sensitivity for certain dates in play. Almost opposite scenario was true for Aframaxes in the Med/Bsea as rates declined due to too many ships available.
The wheels are again in motion on the continent and activity has picked up nicely in the transatlantic market. That said, rates seem to have come off their highs and is MR vessels are now fixing around ws237.5 for UKC/USAC basis 37kt. With an overhand of larger tonnage, rates have come under pressure for LR1s Baltic/USAC, now trading around ws140 basis 60kt. There is effectively no ice-premium left to be had, and handies trading across NWEurope are under pressure around ws195 basis 30kt, with Flexis softer at ws210 basis 22kt. On the back of a longer tonnage list, Caribs upcoast rates are softer at ws185 basis 38kt, and backhaul voyages USG/UKC- Med softer at ws115 level basis 38kt. As expected, we have seen a slightly softer product tanker market east of Suez the last week. We expect the market to remain stable, although rates are still date-sensitive. For LR1s trading MEG/JPN fixtures are being concluded at ws145 basis 55kt. On the LR2s, we have seen a stabilized market still fixing at WS 130 basis 75kt on the same route. Rates for Jet fuel liftings MEG/UKC basis 65kt have spiked and are now fixing at USD 2.1 million. MRs trading Spore/JPN are seeing rates around ws155 basis 30kt, whilst MRs trading MEG/JPN are seeing rates around ws165 basis 35kt.
The Atlantic market is stable/flat with positive undertone meaning more enquiries hitting the market today. Lack of prompt vessels. Trips to the Far East around $22-25,000 per day for Supras nevertheless a lot of actors are still assessing the market´s direction. The Pacific market remains extremely quiet and owners and charterers are both holding and watching cautiously how the market moves. For Indo-India, Supras in North China are getting close to 13k. WCI-China rates slided to 15k and rates from ECI around 13k, but few ships seen ballasting to Indonesia as not much cargoes ex-ECI. Red Sea, ferts on handymax/ Supras are fixed at very mid 20´s pmt on voyage basis to WC India. Not too much activity on short period as market bit volatile and speculative and hear index type vessels fixed at mid-teens.
After holidays in several countries last week and beginning this week the market returned with an active upturn on Tuesday. Increased activity and elevated levels caused by more prompt coal cargos and a still active ECSA grain market and lack of prompt positions. Typical levels mid week around 13k for TA and healthy 26 + 600 BB fixed from ECSA. In the eastern hemisphere Nopac rounds done at 13k and even short period activity showed signs of a recovery with fixtures in the mid 14 range. The FFA market not reflecting the spot market upswing, indicating there is some nervousness to the fundamentals behind a lasting rebounce.
The misery continues, with average spot earning stable at below "opex" levels - only a cosmetic change to the worse during last few days and presently standing at usd 6500. The crisis caused by the unprecedented flow of NB deliveries is now being ever more felt on the cross-trades, with fronthaul coming off another 5% to come in at some usd 18500, backhaul sinking further into the red to around -usd 5k. Transatlantic and -pacific activity is fair in comparison, with resultant levels improving somewhat to usd 5k/7k, respectively. Period fixing remains limited, with a fair usd 13500 done on 180kdwt ex yard mid May for 13/15 mos, 6/8 months concluded on similar unit/delivery at average 4tc for 1st 30 days/balance period at usd 12500.
It has been a quiet week in the VLGC market - May Day, Golden Week and Chinese holidays have slowed down the activity level. May posted prices came out from the main suppliers and they were basically all at "all time high". It will most likely take a little while to digest the new record high prices with the softer crude prices, and therefore it may take a few days until shipping activity resumes. The majority of the little activity there was, happened in the western hemisphere caused by the open arbitrage from USG to Europe and a few vessels were fixed accordingly. The east rates were talked in line with April rates, i.e. in the low USD 50´s basis RT/Chiba - or equivalent to USD 22/23,000 per day on a modern fullsize VLGC. By the look of it the freight market seems soft ahead with more vessels than cargoes, however, practically all May vessels are in control of independent owners and therefore we do not believe rates will change much in the nearest future.
Quiet newbuilding market with few new orders to report, explainable given the Golden Week celebrations in the Far East. Zodiac has switched a part of an order for VLOC at STX to 2 Capesize bulkers. In addition, Zodiac has added 3 more Panamax bulk carriers at the yard with delivery slated for 2013. While we report few new orders, the major Korean yards are reporting high activity in the LNG segment where we expect to see more contracts to be placed over the next weeks. Newbuilding prices are still stable, but we observe a price increase in raw materials which will most likely impact on newbuilding prices.
In the first quarter of 2011, Jiangsu shipbuilding industry kept its rapid growing momentum and three shipbuilding indices took the lead nationally again.
Jiangsu combined newbuilding output hit 91 vessels of 5.218m DWT and grew by 13.5% against the same period of last year, occupying 14.7% of the world total and 36.1% of Chinese total respectively. Export ships account for 90.4% of the total output.
In the first three months, the province’s new orders stood at 66 vessels and 2.924m DWT, growing by 10.2% year-on-year. And the province accounted for 15.1% globally and 26.8% nationally in volume and tonnage respectively.
Till the end of March, Jiangsu’s orderbook has reached 1397 vessel with 72.07DWT and increased by 10.2% compared with the previous year. The province possessed 16.0% globally and 37.9% nationally in volume and tonnage respectively.
Jiangsu Provincial Economy and Information Technology Commission official said that currently new orders were dominated by big shipyard. Many local shipyards are paying more attention on developing new ship types and market to adapt to new international standards and regulations.