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Weekly Broker: MR sales lead the pack

This past week has seen healthy activities continue in the sale and purchase market in both the bulker and tanker segments with investor confidence further strengthened by the positive sentiment in the chartering markets. That confidence can also be reflected in the newbuilding market, which saw a generous round of fresh deals surfacing across all of the more conventional sectors in the past few days, while the presence of Greek owners behind a good share of these contracts remains substantial and a marker that the markets could well be set for a positive change finally.

According to Intermodal, the bulker chartering market moved moderately but steadily up this week, with small gains noted across average earnings for all sizes, while the lack of volatility added to the improving sentiment.

“With the trade war still in play and the upside in the capesize market limited due to an overall inactive Brazil, it is fair to say that the positive momentum is facing substantial resistance at the moment, while despite any adverse developments, sentiment among owners remains reservedly optimistic,” Intermodal said in its latest weekly report.

“S&P activity eased back last week for dry bulk vessels, with few interesting deals being reported across the all size segments in the sector. However, the question is if this week’s poor transaction figures is the norm, or if it is just a temporary break. An interesting point is that this was the second consecutive week that we witnessed a capesize vessel changing hands,” Allied Shipbroking said.

This week, Splash has already reported two major bulker sale and purchase deals in the large size segments. Eyal Ofer’s Zodiac Maritime acquired the 2004-built, 233,600 dwt bulker Pacific Glory for a price of $14.5m.

Greek cape specialist Alma Maritime offloaded its oldest capesize, securing $12m for the 2003-built, 176,298 dwt Iron Fritz. The buyer has yet to be confirmed.

More than eight shipbroking sources all reported the sale of the 2010-built 57,000 dwt supramax bulker Vil Baltic. The Chinese-built vessel was sold by German owner Vilmaris to Chinese interests for a price of $9.85m.

Lion Shipbroking, Lorentzen & Stemoco and Adanced Shipping & Trading all listed a deal in which Greek owner Meadway Shipping sold its 2005-built, 53,000 dwt supramax bulker Delfa to Vietnamese interests for a price of $7.8m.

It was also an improving week for the crude carrier charter market, which with a few exceptions ended stable or positive across the board, according to Intermodal, with VLCC rates slowly but steadily covering the ground lost in the past months. The very significant premiums that are still being paid in the period market compared to average spot levels is also evidence of the improving market psychology.

“Looking forward, many tanker market participants have strong faith that certain short term and longer term fundamental developments will act as game changer for the product tanker market. Much has been said about the increase in refinery capacity and the new IMO 2020 regulations that will push the market to improved levels in the coming years, with some expecting to see this uptrend starting as early as in the second half of 2019,” note Stelios Kollintzas, tanker chartering broker at Intermodal.

“On the tanker side, prevailing patterns reversed with a significant uptick in interest being noted last week, as several transactions came to light. Focus was given once again on the product tanker segment, and specifically for MR units. This not a surprise as many have expressed belief of a significant ramp up in the freight market by the end of the year. On the crude oil tanker front, activity still ranges in the lower numbers, with only a couple of new deals being witnessed during this past week,” Allied Shipbroking said.

More than eight shipbroking sources reported that Maersk Tankers has acquired the 2011-built 48,000 dwt MR tanker Fidelity II from Japanese owner Sekihyo Line. The Japanese-built vessels fetched a price of $18.5m.

Intermodal reported the sale of the 2006-built, 105,000 dwt aframax tanker Oklahoma. The Japanese-built vessel is said to have been sold to Indonesian owner PT Trans for a price of $18.5m. Seasure Shipbroking says the vessel has also secured a one-year period charter with Trafigura at a rate of $18,250 per day.

Banchero Costa reported Greek owner Samos Steamship has sold its 2007 Japanese-built MR2 tanker Papillon to Turkish buyers at an undisclosed price.

On the quiet containership sale and purchase market, Braemar ACM Shipbroking reported that one vessel currently in negotiations is the 2007-built 1,740 teu Hansa Marburg, which is rumoured as being close to going to Norwegian buyers.

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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