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Dry bulk heading towards ‘sweet spot’: John Michael Radziwill

As most of the world remains in some form of lockdown there’s an alternative way of looking at this extraordinary confinement period.

Speaking from Monaco in an entertaining new episode of the Maritime CEO Leader Series powered by Ocean Technologies Group, John Michael Radziwill, CEO of GoodBulk, argued that people need to change their mindset when thinking about being stuck at home because of the threat posed by Covid-19.

“There are only two days of lockdown – the first day and the last day and how you make that happen is you live day by day as efficiently and as happily as you possibly can and that is, as they say in India, that is your dharma,” Radziwill maintained. “We’re at war and this is what you need to do and doing that you’re saving lives and giving a backbone to the heroes out there.”

The GoodBulk boss has been on the radar for an interview in this series from the start, proving second only to John Fredriksen in terms of a straw poll among close Splash contacts as to who ought to feature in our Zoom chats with the great and the good of shipping.

Radziwill said he was honoured to even be linked with Fredriksen, a man he described as “the smartest person in the industry by far, different league, no arguments”.

On the dry bulk markets, Radziwill presented his reasonings to be optimistic about a second half rally leading towards a “sweet spot” next year.

For capes, 2021 and 2022 have a very light historic orderbook while scapping has been picking up prior to demo yards in South Asia going into coronavirus-inspired shutdown.

Radziwill was delighted with the news carried by Splash yesterday that Brazilian miner Vale has decided to stop using up to 25 converted ore carriers, the equivalent of 40 normal capes. Moreover, on the demand side, Radziwill said Vale’s most recent production guidance through to the end of the year was 20m to 40m tonnes more than last year.

He noted also that coal demand was finally picking up with China and India taking more cargoes in recent days.

For panamaxes and supramaxes, agritrade demand looks good, Radzilwill said, as the trade war eases so long as South American countries can supply despite the growth of the spread of coronavirus.

“Message to owners,” Radziwill said in a popular refrain of his, “Let’s not screw it up again please. No newbuildings. There are enough secondhand ships. If you need to find one you can call me I will happily sell one to you and we can all make a lot of money together.”

Come the second half of the year when economies restart, dry bulk ships ought to be the “arteries to a recovery”, Radziwill suggested, as China, the US and possibly Europe too would kick in varying forms of infrastructure stimulus.

The GoodBulk boss had some advice to his peers, to hold their nerve and hold out for better times for one and all.

“Every single cargo that you price prices an entire market and the asset value of your ship so when you do it, do not make a quick decision, think it through, look at the whole picture; synthesise well, decide well,” Radziwill concluded.

The Maritime CEO Leader Series airs on this site and via social media every Tuesday and Thursday. The archive of interviews carried since the series began earlier this month can be accessed here.

 

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