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Ship owners keep on investing in niche markets, like gas carriers

Although this year has been characterized by slow newbuilding ordering activity thus far, ship owners have appeared keen on jumping in the more niche markets, like the LPG and LNG transportation business.

 Ship owners keep on investing in niche markets, like gas carriers
03 October 2012 - 18:18

Although this year has been characterized by slow newbuilding ordering activity thus far, ship owners have appeared keen on jumping in the more niche markets, like the LPG and LNG transportation business.

In its latest weekly report, Clarkson Hellas said that “there has been further activity this week in the Gas sector, combined with some continued reported interest and concluded business in the mid‐sized wet and dry segments of the market.

It therefore arguably remains the larger facilities in both Korea and China that remain under the most pressure in terms of conventional demand.

With no real volume of new contracts having been placed, particularly for the larger end of the Crude segment of the market and gaps in production now also showing into 2014 and 2015, pressure is certainly mounting on shipyards to relent a little on pricing to try and spur on any dormant interest that exists” the report said.

It added that “unfortunately, even with the best intentions from the side of the Shipyards, owners are still forced to operate in a continually challenging and volatile macro environment – and with no immediate promise of recovery in either the freight or financial markets to justify ordering against existing values for these segments, it still requires bold decision making to commit to contracting at the higher value end of the asset spectrum.

Having said this – opportunities are there for those who are in a position to take them and with the major owners remaining poised for action – it will be interesting to see who makes the first move and whether any such move will be enough to catalyse enough volume of demand to positively influence the upper end of the newbuilding market.

For the moment however, the signs are those more of stagnation than activity– and it is likely that the remainder of the year will continue to play out in much the same vein and demonstrate the same trends as we have witnessed for the majority of the year” Clarkson Hellas said.

In terms of reported business, the report noted that "in Gas Unigas have signed 3 + 3 units of 12,000cbm Ethylene ships for delivery within the 2H 2014, Frontline have also declared their 2 options at Jiangnan Shipyard now for 2 further VLGC’s due for delivery in 2014. In Wet, D’Amico have extended their order at Hyundai Mipo with 2 further units of MR’s due for delivery in 2014.

In Dry, MST Mineralien have ordered 2 x 76,000 Panamax Bulkers at Taizhou Catic Shipyard for delivery in 2014" it said. Meanwhile, in the sale and purchasing market for second hand vessels, it's been another active week in the dry cargo sector, with more reported activity in the Capesize market, despite the segment's recent woes.

"Clients of Sinokor keep adding new Capes in their fleet by purchasing the M/V CAPE FUTURE (185,820 dwt 2002 blt Kawasaki) and the M/V CAPE SALVIA (172,559 dwt 2002 blt NKK) for US$ 42.5m en bloc.

Another vessel has been sold from the Yamamoto Kaiun fleet, namely M/V AZUL FRONTIER (177,253 dwt 2003 blt Namura). We understand clients of Swiss Marine have paid US$ 21.4m for the vessel.

Clients of Lauritzen are rumoured to have committed the M/V GRY BULKER (174,788 dwt 2009 blt Namura) to Greek buyers at levels of US$ 35m. In the Panamax sector, the M/V BET INTRUDER (69,235 dwt 1993 blt Imabari) is sold to Chinese interests at US$ 4.8m. The M/V SPRING FALCON (51,024 dwt 2001 blt Oshima) reported sold to Pacific Carriers for US$ 12.75m.

In the Handysize sector, M/V CLIPPER GRACE (30,548 dwt 2007 blt China) is sold to Greek interest for US$ 11.3m while the M/V PEONY (29,756 dwt 2001 blt Shikoku) reported sold to Chilean interests for US$ 10.1m" Clarkson Hellas concluded.

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