The latest issue of Maritime CEO magazine launches today with a suitably Greek flavour to proceedings given that the publication will be distributed across Posidonia-related events in Athens and Piraeus next week.
Inside we look at Greek ship finance, likely Posidonia talking points plus we try to get inside the mindset of the typical Greek shipowner to discover what it is that makes them such good readers of shipping cycles.
For the cover, we’re in Monaco and in conversation with John Michael Radziwill, who is set to have a high profile turn at this year’s 50th anniversary edition of Posidonia.
It was in 2016, at the absolute depths of the dry bulk market that Radziwill launched GoodBulk. In the ensuing 24 months, he’s built up a fleet of 25 ships – a mix of capesizes, panamaxes and supramaxes – and even had the time for some clever asset plays along the way.
GoodBulk is Radziwill’s dry bulk investment vehicle, while C Transport Maritime (CTM), also headquartered in Monaco, serves as a ship operator with close to 100 vessels on its books.
The decision to launch GoodBulk at a time when rates were hitting historic lows was brave, but in hindsight it was beautifully timed.
“At the time we saw a modus operandi that could work,” Radziwill relates. “A low leverage platform, with an eye on opex and a long runway. We saw asset values were at record lows and that we could create assets very cheaply with no leverage.”
These newly acquired assets – mainly Japanese built – have since picked up in price a great deal. For instance, this February Radziwill was able to sell a cape he had bought nine months earlier for a tidy $5m profit.
“We are at the beginning of a bull run,” Radziwill predicts. “Looking at the incoming fleet and projected cargo demand I’d say the next 18 to 24 months should see better than historic rates on the cards.”
Radziwill continues to hunt down secondhand tonnage, but is aware that the market is now being talked up by too many, something that tends to lead to a deluge of newbuild orders.
“Asset values are still attractive from a buying point of view,” he says. “The higher rate environment however will mean new orders. It always does historically. Higher rates and more supply always go together. I hope I am wrong as there are plenty of ships out there on the water already.”
Radziwill, though still youthful in shipowning terms, is able to talk about shipping historically as the industry has been a part of his life from day one.
American-born Radziwill grew up knowing he’d be in shipping from a very young age. All around him were titans of the Greek shipping scene such as his grandfather, John Carras, and George Livanos, his uncle.
“I aspire to achieve what my other family members have achieved,” Radziwill tells Maritime CEO humbly.
He has sailed on commercial ships, been involved in newbuild supervisions in Asia and bought his first vessel, a capesize, while still in his mid-20s.
On Greece’s shipowning culture, Radziwill says: “People are taught shipping from a young age and become very adept at understanding the cycles.”
Up next is a possible New York listing, but due to the structure of GoodBulk Radziwill will not be rushed into an IPO.
“We’ll do it if the pricing is okay,” he says. “We have no capital commitments to need it. It’s a nice to have, not a must have.”
Radziwill is one of more than 20 shipowners featured in this bumper issue of the magazine. Plus readers can access all the regular departments including unrivalled market commentaries, great columnists and a lighter, more recreational side to the issue. Splash readers can access the full magazine for free by clicking here.