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Braemar: Dry bulk’s five-year wait

London: It’ll take another five years to get the dry bulk equilibrium back on an even keel, warns one of the world’s most famous names in shipbroking in today’s Maritime CEO exclusive.

Denis Petropoulos, who has been with Braemar since 1986, and is now president of Braemar Asia, says, “China’s demand has not met the expectations that optimistically built ships.” Capesizes in particular look off kilter.

“Supply/demand convergence for dry bulk could be as long as five years out,” Petropoulos says. Scrapping will advance in the coming years, he adds.

Tankers, however, are a source of optimism, albeit with overtonnaging still in evidence, the Braemar boss believes.

“Demand for cheap oil has excited buyers creating congestion,” Petropoulos says, adding: “Charterers can’t vary their programs easily and are therefore committed to the spot market.”

He notes that tankers are overtonnaged – by as much as 20% in some sectors – but high utilisation rates from congestion has masked this fact.

In terms of where he sees the best opportunities for investment, Petropoulos is adamant that the LNG sector has the brightest prospects.

Braemar, which has been instrumental in shipbroking’s consolidation with the 2002 acqusition of Seascope and the recent merger with ACM, will continue to grow, Petropoulos says.

“The bigger picture is that we are still maintaining our strategy of growing services in Asia and the Americas.”

Petropoulos compares being a service provider to a taxi driver in explaining Braemar’s international expansion.

“The service industry directs itself to where customers are based,” he says. “Taxi drivers go to airports and stations as that is where they are required. So do we.”

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