Saturday, 26 May 12 DRY BULK SHIP OWNERS LOOKING TO CUT BACK ON TONNAGE SUPPLY - NIKOS ROUSSANOGLOU, HELLENIC SHIPPING
The oversupply of dry bulk carriers has been the most prominent problem in the market today, pushing down rates and ‘strangling’ profitability. According to ICAP Shipping congestion of the dry bulk fleet at Australian, Brazilian, Indian and Chinese ports at the end of last week was just above the 60Mdwt mark. "This is the highest level we have seen for thirteen weeks (since the middle of February this year) and is equivalent to around 10% of the total fleet. Interestingly, congestion has risen across all of the sectors from Capesize to Handysize. Capes currently account for 37.7Mdwt of the total queuing at ports, growth of over 7% week-on-week, while Panamaxes account for around 11.8Mdwt, growth of just under 9% w-o-w. Interestingly the largest percentage increases in congestion were for Supramax and Handysize, where on a w-o-w basis it rose by 15% and 25% respectively.
Nevertheless, in terms of deadweight these two sectors combined still accounted for less than total Panamax congestion. Provided all other factors remain unchanged, increased congestion at ports should provide some support to freight rates based on simple supply/demand dynamics; specifically a tightening of tonnage supply" said ICAP Shipping.
In its latest weekly report, shipbroker Intermodal noted that 2011 was a fairly disappointing year for shipping, with a tremendously large mismatch between supply and demand for the dry bulk segment in particular. “This affected both market prices and freight rates which fell close to some of the lowest levels recorded. Prices for tonnage older than 15 years of age reached fairly close to the residual value of the vessel itself (its value in terms of steel). It has been widely regarded in the whole shipping community that the only solution would be to scrap all vessels built prior to the 90's. As a result there has been an immense surge of older tonnage heading towards scrapyards in Bangladesh, China, India, Pakistan and Turkey. During the same period last year 17.8m deadweight has left the world fleet providing the markets with 3.5m tonnes of steel. By the end of 2011 the total amount of carrying capacity sent for scrap had reached 44.2m dwt which is equivalent with 8,7m tonnes of steel. Unfortunately and despite the evident efforts to reduce the fleet size, the large order book kept the supply of vessels on the rise. Around 1,125 dry bulkers (above 20,000dwt) were delivered during 2011, while at the same time only 339 dry bulkers (above 20,000dwt) were sent for scrap” said Spyros Stavropoulos, Intermodal’s analyst.
He went on to mention that “the first five and a half months of 2012 have shown positive signs, as demolition volume has been higher than that seen during the same period last year. Up to now, 25.8m dwt of vintage tonnage has been subtracted from the world fleet, albeit the fall in demolition price levels noted during the past weeks. These encouraging numbers are showing that the shipping community is committed to reducing the world fleet. An example of this temperament are the Capesize bulkers being sent for demolition which are defying the slide in ship scrapping prices”.
Meanwhile, “South Asian yards are well stocked as the subcontinent’s monsoon season approaches, while weakening steel demand in China has made its yards cut back on purchases. Prices in South Asian yards have dropped to $440-445 per ldt for bulkers and $465/ldt for tankers, from $450/ldt and $475-490/ldt the previous week. Chinese yards’ offers are unchanged at $390/ldt for bulkers and $415/ldt for tankers. But that did not stop owners from sending their ageing Capesizes for recycling, amid a still-depressed freight market. Big ships and vessels with rich stainless steel content continued to outperform the ship recycling market. With rates falling by the day, it is advisable for owners to decide the fate of their vessels quickly and take the best price/buyer available, as otherwise they may find themselves chasing down the market.
The drop in prices is explained by the oversupply of demo candidates which has led to an only natural drop in scrap steel prices. We can only hope that the levels of demolition seen so far this year for dry bulkers continue and that a significant amount of the large order book of 1,219 dry bulk vessels scheduled for delivery in the remaining period of 2012 is not fulfilled” Intermodal concluded.
Intermodal had noted that "Hellenic ship owners still occupy the top position amongst buyers in the secondhand S&P market. In its latest report, Intermodal mentioned that “since January they have managed to pick up at least 70 vessels spending over $ 1.2 billion to do so. This is a large difference when compared to the Chinese which hold second place amongst buyers’ nationality, with only 42 vessels reported purchased so far and having spent less than half the amount of that spent by the Greeks. This is even more remarkable when one considers the general lack of financing observed in shipping, let alone that available in the now illiquid Greek market”. In his note, Intermodal’s George Lazaridis stated that “all this points to the fact that Greeks continue to hold a firm belief in the shipping markets, as many of have an extensive experience of the market cycles and are used to navigating through such troubled market conditions. This does not mean that all is well and that there haven’t been or aren’t going to be casualties along the way. After all these cycles provide a cleansing opportunity, removing mismanaged companies and owners while at the same time pushing market players to remain competitive and efficient in the service they provide" he mentioned in a relative report. Source: Nikos Roussanoglou, Hellenic Shipping
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