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Weekly Broker: Brazen opportunists lowball bulker bids

The shock plunge in the dry bulk market has tempered somewhat in recent days with sub-cape sized ships seeing some pick up in business, but nevertheless the market remains spooked with few owners willing to get their wallets out for more tonnage in these uncertain times. A brazen few however are testing owners’ resolve with some low ball bids.

“The very slow fresh cargo supply of the past couple of months resulted in a slowdown of S&P activity, which is down 33% year-to-date. However, from the start of last week a more normal flow of cargo is observed and the BDI showed signs of recovering. At the same time, comparing past week’s S&P market to the start of this month we noted fresh prospective buyers coming onboard ships, while proven buyers took the opportunity to test sellers with levels depicting current market conditions and establishing new market levels,” wrote Ilias Lalaounis, a sale and purchase broker at Intermodal earlier this week.

According to Alibra’s weekly report, the capesize period rates have yet to rebound and have remained low, and the period market for the panamaxes and kamsarmaxes also remained under pressure while the smaller sizes have shown some signs of improvement with rates firming slightly.

“On the dry bulk side, there was a partial upward movement being noted during the past few days in terms of volume of transactions being concluded. With the overall market sentiment being in a very fragile state, buying interest is struggling to hold on a positive note too, leaving little room for speculative firm buying to take place for the time being. As a mere reflection of this, the S&P market is expected to remain in a state of high volatility and asymmetry, for the short run at least,” Allied Shipbroking said in its latest weekly report.

Splash has already reported two separate bulker sale and purchase deals this week including Cobelfret’s acquisition of the 2011-built 95,000 dwt Tender Salute and Diligent Holdings’s purchase of the 2008-built supramax Alster Bay.

Multiple shipbroking houses an enbloc sale, also reported by Splash, of two panamax bulkers, the 2005-built Medi Baltimore and the 2004-built Medi Cagliari. The two vessels were sold by Italian owner D’Amico Dry to Chinese interests for $16.3m in total attached with a two-year time charter back at $7,000 per day.

More than eight shipbroking houses listed the sale of the 2002-built 53,000 dwt supramax bulker Saubaagya 5. The Japanese-built vessel was sold by Singapore’s Sarvalokaa Ventures, previously known as Chettinad International Trading & Shipping Services to Chinese interests for a price of $7.3m. Following the sale, Sarvalokaa Ventures has cleared out its entire fleet.

“On the tanker side, things eased back considerably in terms of activity during the past couple of days. Notwithstanding this, we continue seeing a convergence towards smaller size segments and especially MRs, while current shift is more so for more modern units. All-in-all, while optimism holds in respect to future earnings, the expectation is for a stable trajectory to hold in terms of activity in the near term,” Allied Shipbroking said.

Several shipbroking houses reported that Japanese owner Fuyo Kaiun sold its 2009-built 45,000 dwt MR tanker Queen Express for $16.2m. Some brokers have identified Monaco-based Transocean Maritime as the buyer of the Japanese-built ship, while others point to Greece’s Cape Shipping.

Intermodal and Lion Shipbrokers listed the sale of the 2018-built 157,400 dwt suezmax tanker Energy Triumph. Greek owner Enterprise Shipping and Trading sold the South Korean-built vessel.

According to Braemar ACM Shipbroking’s Weekly Container Briefing, activity in secondhand sales remains limited with a number of vessels inviting offers and not seeing sufficient numbers in the eyes of the respective sellers to conclude.

“Post CNY has so far brought an increase in chartering activity on the post panamaxes as rates return to more logical levels given market conditions. A long list of buyers and sellers wait to see if this appreciation on the larger ships gives the wider market a sense of direction,” Braemar ACM noted.

Braemar ACM has seen Chinese leasing companies continue to push deals into the market as they seek to exit deals done over the past three years between 4,000 to 12,000 teu.

“Though high asking prices and low rates of return does not make this an easy task without them willing to take a haircut,” Braemar ACM suggested.

Advanced Shipping & Trading, Intermodal and Lion Shipbrokers all reported on the sale of the 357 teu feeder boxship J. Pioneer. The vessel was sold by Chinese owner Taicang Shipping to undisclosed interests for $1.1m.

Jason Jiang

Jason is one of the most prolific writers on the diverse China shipping & logistics industry and his access to the major maritime players with business in China has proved an invaluable source of exclusives. Having been working at Asia Shipping Media since inception, Jason is the chief correspondent of Splash and associate editor of Maritime CEO magazine. Previously he had written for a host of titles including Supply Chain Asia, Cargo Facts and Air Cargo Week.
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