AsiaDry CargoFinance and Insurance

Shipping Corp holed below by sinking dry bulk rates

Mumbai: India’s largest shipowner Shipping Corporation of India (SCI), which recently emerged from a three-year period in the red, fears for its bottomline in the final quarter of fiscal 2014-15.

The government-owned carrier showed a small profit for the October to December 2014 quarter, but has been badly hit in recent weeks by sinking dry bulk cargo carriage rates. SCI operates 17 dry bulk carriers out of its total fleet of 69 vessels.

The Baltic Dry Index has sunk to a level just above the 500-point mark, the lowest in its nearly three-decade long history. At its peak, in March 2008, the index had touched 11,000.

“The dry bulk market is in shambles; I don’t think there will be any meaningful recovery over the next two years,” said SCI chairman and managing director Arun Kumar Gupta (pictured). “There is oversupply of ships in the market, even as cargo volumes have been shrinking.”

The company has been compensated to some extent by far better rates in the tanker segment, as lower global crude oil prices have increased demand for shipment. SCI, which has four VLCCs, is expected to take delivery of its fifth new carrier, being built in China, in a few weeks’ time.

Shirish Nadkarni

Shirish Nadkarni is a management consultant and freelance international journalist, who has been writing on all spheres of Indian business for the past three decades for a number of reputed overseas publications. An avid sportsman, Nadkarni has represented India in international veterans' badminton since 1997, and was the 55+ age group doubles world champion in 2005.
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