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Michele Bottiglieri Armatore: Traditional shipowner model called into question

Naples: Michele Bottiglieri is a seasoned shipowner based in Naples, part of a family with a long tradition in the shipping business. After many years working with his sister at RBD Armatori, he founded his own shipping company named Michele Bottiglieri Armatore in 2008 and today controls a fleet of five modern bulk carriers: three kamsarmax and two post-panamax units aged between four to six years.

So far Michele Bottiglieri’s shipping company has been performing quite well, even in the low dry bulk market experienced in the last few years, but the Italian shipowner’s thinking today is focused on how a small operator might survive in the near future.

“The work of the shipowner is still the same,” he says. “Nothing has changed in the way of operating ships. However, some major changes occurred in the ship finance market with the funds entering the market and the banks moving away, especially the Italian lenders.”

Bottiglieri wonders how a small shipping company might obtain financial support for further investments in the coming years. “Since we are too small for listing, we can only ask money from the banks which have disappeared from the shipping market. That’s why my view for the future is quite pessimistic: I can’t see a way for getting money to invest and increase my fleet.”

Nevertheless, the Italian shipowner is interested at diversifying his fleet, entering the liquid bulk market.

“I had the desire of investing in tankers, but the ship values are higher and higher. To tell the truth, in the short term I don’t think we won’t invest in other ships even if market prices for some size of vessels appears to be still cheap.”

Trying to give some forecasts on the dry bulk market trend for the future, Bottiglieri says: “My sentiment on bulk carriers sea rates is negative, I think we have to wait at least one year to see a stable recovery of the market. China is still the main driver in the dry bulk segment and the country’s imports of coal have slowed down in the recent past. This factor, together with the tonnage oversupply, resulted in the perfect storm.” In the Italian owner’s opinion the only way to come out from this situation is linked to three factors: “a maritime transport demand upswing, no more orders for newbuildings and scrapping as many bulk carriers as possible”.


  1. I understand what Michele Bottiglieri is saying, but if we take a very slightly longer term view – say three to five years, we can ask ourselves, “Why are the funds investing in shipping?” The answer is of course “Because they they expect that the sector will show capital appreciation which will match their desired profile”.

    There is only one way in which this can happen – the return of the banks to their “customary” role in ship finance – so, since the funds are not run by stupid people, but by people with expert knowledge of finance, we must assume that the funds think that the banks will be back,.,

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