Hong Kong: Getting in on the newbuild bulker craze is one of Asia’s more conservative owners, KC Maritime. At the end of November our sister site SinoShip News reported that Hong Kong-based KC Maritime had ordered a quartet of 64,000 dwt bulkers at CSSC Guangzhou Huangpu Shipbuilding, the owner becoming the first from outside mainland China to order at the southern Chinese yard. The 64,000 dwt ecodesign is an update of Huangpu’s 57,000 dwt design.
KC Maritime, run by India’s Chellaram family, is based in Hong Kong. The Chellaram family have numerous maritime affiliates including offshore operator Chellsea in Singapore. KC Maritime is headed by Captain Vikrant Bhatia, who used to be with another Hong Kong-based owner, Valles Steamship.
“We are cautiously optimistic for 2014,” Bhatia tells Maritime CEO in our regular Friday shipowner slot. “Trade numbers look good with lots of new mining developments coming onstream,” he says, before cautioning: “China GDP is a concern and we are watching what we are doing in that space.”
Bhatia, a thoughtful and insightful shipowner, questions whether the traditional shipping cycles have come to an end. “With the increasing shipbuilding capacity is the cyclicality model over?” he muses, noting how the lead in time to order ships these days is so short – there are still 2014 slots available, he observes.
Newbuild prices have bottomed out and are on the up, Bhatia reckons, hence the decision to jump into the newbuild scene. The KC Maritime fleet numbers 12 in operation and another six on order. The ships are bulkers and are a mix of panamaxes, kamsarmaxes, supramaxes and ultramaxes. “We will stay within our core sector,” says Bhatia when questioned on possible plans to diversify. [06/12/13]
NEED TO KNOW: KC Maritime
Part of the Chellarams diverse maritime holdings this Hong Kong bulk owner has 12 ships in operation and another six on order. Fleet is made up of mid-sized ships.