Shenzhen Haifa Shipping, a Chinese domestic tanker operator, is ramping up its efforts in fleet expansion this year despite the overall depression in the shipping market. The company mainly operates oil and chemical shipping in domestic coastal and Yangtze River market. It also offers services to Hong Kong and Macau from major ports in Guangdong, Guangxi, Fujian and Hainan.
Liang Dong, president of Haifa Shipping, established the company in 1996. The company only operated with chartered vessels to begin with, nut now it owns 16 tankers with a total capacity of around 75,000 dwt. It also listed on the National Equities Exchange and Quotations (NEEQ) in 2014.
According to Liang, currently the domestic oil and chemical shipping is relatively stable compared with other shipping sectors including dry bulk shipping and container shipping, however, the company is still facing the risk of decreased demand from the downstream industry.
Liang says the company has spent more efforts in market expansion and improving services this year. “Our main efforts now is to strengthen our ties with major oil and chemical companies,” Liang says. Haifa Shipping’s major clients at the moment are subsidiaries of the major energy groups including PetroChina, CNOOC and CNPC.
The company has also set up a technical management office in Huizhou Port in southern China recently to better serve the petrochemical projects in the region.
Liang says the company’s fleet has added two 7,000 dwt oil tankers in the first half of this year while a number of vessels which were at repair and maintenance last year are back in operation.
“The fleet has been greatly boosted this year,” Liang says, adding that the company has recently bought two more tankers which will be put into operation before the end of this year, by then the fleet capacity will be increased by 75% comparing with the same period of last year.
The company has been actively looking for financing from alterative sources rather than bank borrowings. Haifa Shipping issued a debt-financing plan in May to raise RMB80m ($12.5m) for fleet expansion and it is currently planning to issue 15m new shares to institutional investors in order to raise about RMB108m ($17m). Liang says the raised funds will improve the company’s debt structure.
“Currently the fuel price is at a relatively low level, which helps us control costs,” Liang said.
Liang says reckons the oil tanker market will see some increase in the fourth quarter. “The low oil price has also increased the demand for oil storage in China despite the overall economic slowdown,” he says.
As a result Liang is anticipating significantly higher revenues and profits this year.