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Weekly Broker: Bulker bargain hunt grows

With the industry increasingly comfortable that the worst is over for dry bulk, especially sub-cape size, there has been a rush this week to snap up bargains before prices start to escalate.

Allied Shipbroking’s latest report shows that five-year-old 180,000 dwt capesize bulkers and 10-year-old 170,000 dwt capsizes have seen an average price drop of 4.5% and 2% respectively since early February, while 10-year-old 76,000 dwt panamaxes and five-year-old 58,000 dwt supramaxes have also seen prices decline by 3.3% and 2.8% respectively in the same period.

The only increases have been in the segments of five-year-old 82,000 dwt panamaxes and 10-year-old handymaxes, where prices have gone up by 2% and 2.2% respectively.

According to Alibra’s weekly report, very little period activity was reported this week for capes as the market remains under pressure, however there is some optimism that the market might finally have hit rock bottom. The panamax market has experienced some pressure stemming from the cape sector and lacks direction while period deals have been limited for the smaller sizes but fixtures reported suggest that rates have firmed slightly.

“On the dry bulk side, another week with a fair amount of activity taking place. Here, the scene in the market seems relatively the same, with current buying focus seemingly centered around the panamax and supramax size segments. With all this being said and given the current trends of the freight market, we will likely continue witnessing a healthy flow in these size segments, with the rest holding in a slumber state until we see some sort of recovery taking place in the freight market and buying appetite starts to shift once more,” Allied Shipbroking said.

Splash reported this week that Hong Kong owner Pacific Basin picked up two ultramxes from Tufton Oceanic for a total price of $34m.

Several shipbroking houses reported China’s Mingsheng Finacial Leasing has taken over a newbuilding 64,000 dwt ultramax bulker, Ocean Neeraj, from Noble Group, which completed a debt restructuring at the end of last year. The vessel, which is currently near completion at Cosco Zhoushan Shipyard, was sold for a price of around $22m.

Lion Shipbroking reported a transaction in which the 2010 Japanese-built 58,700 dwt supramax bulker Korean Lily was sold by Japanese owner Doun Kisen to Greek bulker owner Diligent Holdings for a price of $14m.

Allied Shipbroking, Intermodal and Lion Shipbroking all reported China’s Shanghai HNA Marine Shipping, a shipping unit of HNA Group, has sold three bulkers en bloc, including two 2012-built 79,600 dwt panamax bulkers FH Ri Zhao and Zhen Bang, and 2015-built 81,500 dwt kamsarmax bulker FH Fang Cheng. The vessels are believed to have been sold to Greek interests for a total price of $47m.

“On the tankers side, weekly volume of transactions seem to be on a stable path these past couple of weeks, without noticing any aggressive buying spree (nor any steep clampdown) as of late. Here, in its most part, overall activity continues to reflect a robust appetite for smaller size units, while we see some sort of spark of life in the VLCC market,” Allied Shipbroking said.

This week, Splash has already reported that Taiwanese owner Formosa Plastics sold two 2009-built LR1 tankers, FPMC P Fortune and FPMC P Eagle.

Allied Shipbroking reported an en bloc sale of two product tankers – the 2007-built 20,900 dwt White Shark and the 2008-built 19,900 dwt Crimson Shark. The two Japanese-built vessels were sold by Japan’s Mitsubishi UFJ Lease to Singapore-based Golden Stena Baycrest, a tanker joint venture between Stena Bulk and Bay Crest Managment for $25m in total.

Multiple shipbroking houses reported that Turkish owner Fiba Holding sold its 2013-built 50,000 dwt MR tanker Gan Trust while Allied Shipbroking identified the buyer as Hong Kong-based Island Navigation, a low-key offshoot of Hong Kong’s Tung family. The Tungs sold containerline OOCL to Cosco, but remain firmly in the shipping business via Island Navigation. The company currently operates a fleet of nine handy tankers.

Intermodal, Lion Shipbroking, Lorentzen & Stemoco all listed the sale l of the 1999-built aframax tanker Hildegaard. Dubai-based Marshal Shipping is said to have acquired the vessel for a price of $8m.

It has been a quiet week in the secondhand containership sale and purchase market. According to Braemar ACM Shipbroking, two 2008-built 1,049 teu sister containerships – Hanse Endurance and Hanse Energy – are rumoured to have been sold by German owner Johs Thode to China’s SITC at below $8m each. Last week, Johs Thode also sold its handy bulker Hanse Gate. The company’s fleet will be left with only one vessel if all the transactions are completed.

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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