Hong Kong: Container shipping is set to go through a “great renaissance”, unlike dry bulk which will remain an “uncertain” market for years to come, claims Julian Proctor, managing director at Tiger Group Investments, the firm behind names such as Seaspan, Greathorse Shipping, POSH Terasea and GC Industrial Investments (GCI).
Tiger, via Seaspan and GCI, has links to more than $10bn in containership assets. For Proctor, the sector is primed for strong growth. “Those businesses are entering into a great renaissance as liners report better results,” he says, adding: “The next 12 months will be very favourable for containership lessors.”
The trend to order ever larger boxships is likely to lead Seaspan back to Korea for some big ships soon. “We think the large ship trend will continue. There’s a lot more liners who will come in for them,” he says from his office overlooking Victoria Harbour in Hong Kong.
Container’s glad tidings are not replicated however in dry bulk, something Tiger is exposed to via holdings Greathorse Shipping and Tiger Bulk.
“Dry bulk is going to have a very tough time for a few years,” concedes Proctor, “but this will create lots of opportunities.” Proctor admits concern at all the money coming into the sector from New York. “No one knows how they will behave,” he muses, adding, “This will add to an already uncertain market.”
Tiger, by and large, has been very savvy at its market timings in what ever sector it has entered – with the possible exception of tankers, something Proctor admits.
“We sold a bunch of VLCCs to Greek shipowners last year – the timing was off,” he concedes, discussing the decision to offload the vessels.
Nevertheless, Proctor thinks that boat has now sailed; investment opportunities lie elsewhere.
“We think tankers are very fully valued, we will not be investing here apart from in stainless steel chemical tankers,” the UK national says.
Greathorse Chemical is the group’s tanker vehicle at present – it boasts a fleet of 12 ships, and Proctor says the company will add to that, but only on a selective basis.