AsiaDry Cargo

Worst is over in the long tunnel of dry bulk despair

There’s some glimmer of hope in the dry bulk trades for the first time in a very long time, according to panellists at Marine Money’s event held in Singapore today.

Rates are increasing thanks to the demand side which has improved substantially, driven by China, argued Pankaj Khanna, CEO of Singapore handy specialist Pioneer Marine.

“Supply and demand is coming into balance,” Khanna said with capesize rates showing some early signs of that realignment.

“To survive it’s important that loan to valuation levels remain strong,” Khanna stressed, noting how there is still plenty of cash available to buy ships, and seemingly every ship going to market gets sold.

Khanna felt the current environment was very much a seller’s market.

More stressed sales are inevitable, warned Christoph Toepfer, managing director of Borealis Maritime. Despite seeing a small recovery at present, the German national said the market still had a long way to go before becoming profitable.

Any upside will be limited, suggested Drewry’s Arjun Batra, who was adamant that the bottom of the market had now been past.

Michael Nagler, head of chartering at Noble Group, said commodity prices and demand are increasing but he felt the rise in the cape market was “somewhat artificial”.

“Ordering capes now would be a disaster,” Nagler warned.

Marine Money’s Singapore conference closes today.

Grant Rowles

Grant spent nine years at Informa Group based in London, Sydney, Hong Kong and Singapore. He gained strong management experience in publishing, conferences and awards schemes in the shipping and legal areas, working on a number of titles including Lloyd's List. In 2009 Grant joined Seatrade responsible for the commercial development of Seatrade’s Asia products. In 2012, with Sam Chambers, he co-founded Asia Shipping Media.
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