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Record 8% of all ships predicted to change hands this year

As much as 8% of the global fleet will change hands this year in what is turning out to be a record year for S&P brokers.

Clarkson Research Services has provided a half-year report into shipping fortunes with its cross-sector ClarkSea Index averaging $20,717 a day in H1, the strongest six months for the index since the heady days of 2008.

Many owners are hesitant, unwilling to order new ships for fear of proven green propulsion technologies, which has sparked secondhand tonnage buys to hit all-time high volumes so far this year.

The number of ships sold so far this year is more than double the long term trend

More than 85m dwt has changed hands in the first six months, up 131% on the same period last year, 31% up from H2 last year, and more than double the long term trend. At this run rate, around 8% of the fleet will change ownership in 2021, Clarksons is predicting. Chinese and Greek owners are by some margin the most aggressive buyers of ships so far this year.

Given the frothy markets, newbuild orders have piled in by the most bullish owners with Clarksons recording the busiest six months for shipyards since 2014, surpassing full year 2020 orders. Clarksons has tallied 24m cgt ordered in the first half, worth $55bn.

Analysts at the world’s largest shipbroker caution that steel prices and currency movements may make a similar order intake in the second half more difficult for yards.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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