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Weekly Broker: Smaller tonnage in vogue

With 2017 set to be a record year for sale and purchase and shipowners famous for being about as forthcoming about their ship conquests as Matt Damon has allegedly been about a certain Hollywood mogul, Splash has taken the decision to publish from today a weekly roundup of key deals carried by the world’s top brokers.

Every week Splash will carefully fillet through many broking reports looking for key deals and emerging buying trends.

This week the focus of buyers was on smaller tonnage, both in dry bulk and in tankers.

“It seems as though the market now is waiting to get a further boost from the freight market, before any further price gains above these levels can be made. This is in part why we may have seen a buying trend towards the smaller size segments, where we note a more enticing discount being offered,” Allied noted in its most recent weekly report.

On the tanker side, the market has showed a “sharp rise” in activity, Allied observed, pointing out that the main bulk of units where in the product tankers range, showing the overall difficulties still faced by the larger crude oil carriers

Multiple broking houses list Denmark’s Celsius Shipping as the taker of the Spruce Galaxy chemical carrier for a price of around $15m. The ship comes with a ballast water treatment system already installed. The “firm” price is also explained by the fact that the ship being built to high a specification with Clarkson Research pointing out 22 segregations and a nitrogen generator onboard.

More than five brokers carry reports of acquisitive Ardmore Shipping taking the Challenge Pearl product carrier while Clarkson Research spent some time in its most recent report detailing the BLS Advance, an ageing LR1 which has been sold to Avin International for $7.8m. The one-year younger similarly-sized Jill Jacob was sold in June this year for $8.5m, illustrative, Clarkson said, of the price discount needed to find a suitable buyer for the BLS Advance due to its size and specification.

“The tanker market has evolved into a market that requires fast reflexes. Cycles are becoming shorter, usually lasting 16 to 18 months, thus creating a sense of uncertainty as far as when to off load a respective asset or invest in tonnage,” brokers Intermodal noted this week, observing how tanker buyers seemed to be focusing on smaller sizes as the sector witnesses slightly revived S&P activity, while as dry bulk prices have been quickly moving up buyer and sellers seem to be reassessing their ideas before another “impressive round” of deals takes place.

“If freight rates remain healthy, which most probably will be the case until the rest of 2017, secondhand prices should also keep moving north and will most probably inspire further ordering. This is what traditionally happens but in the sake of avoiding another round of deliveries that will impact a market that has recently started recovering, we do hope that logic rather than habit prevails this time,” Intermodal suggested.

Lion Shipbrokers, meanwhile, has details of busy Oldendorff Carriers, one of the most active names in dry bulk this year. Lion has the German outfit down as selling two kamsarmaxes, the Austyn Oldendorff and the Lucas Oldendorff. The Japanese-built ships fetched $16.5m and $17.5m respectively and were reportedly snapped up by Greece’s Uniseas Shipping.

Another Greek owner is also linked by the same broker as a buyer of Japanese-built tonnage. Dry bulk specialist Safety Management is believed to be paying $14.9m for the 2008-built panamax ADS Kristiansand, in a deal that includes a time charter through to next March.

Panamax bulk carriers appear to have plateaued for the time being with Clarkson reporting that the Japanese controlled Ocean Antwerp has been sold to the Zatef family’s Balthellas for $13.6m. “[V]alues remain flat here considering that last month the sister vessel Ocean Sakura was also sold in the mid/high $13ms,” Clarkson noted.

In terms of recently reported newbuild deals, Intermodal reported Idan Ofer’s Singapore-based outfit Eastern Pacific placing an order for two firm ultramaxes at DACKS, in China for a price in the region of $24m and delivery set in 2019.

Eastern Pacific did respond to queries by Splash regarding the order, however its CEO, Steve Kunzer, was giving nothing away.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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