Intermodal Weekly Report

30 Ιουλίου 2021.

ploia43Market insight

By Vassilis Vassiliou, Interyards

Assessing the ship repair sector during this first half of the year, we continue to come across surprises and new restrictions which are trembling the repair market and not letting it to stabilize. As we have seen in similar situations, any disruption on the ship repair market has an immediate effect to shipyard’s available slots, costs, and repair time.

Taking into consideration also the elevated dry bulk freight market, the pressure of the shipping companies to perform is tremendous. Therefore, they are trying to control the ship repairs to the maximum extent possible, to avoid pit holes and last moment changes. A task which is almost impossible following the changing dynamics of COVID.

One of the greatest disruptions we experienced in the ship repair sector lately was the regulations adapted by the shipyards in Zhoushan area in China. A sudden decision caused mainly due to the outbreak of the Delta variant of COVID in India. From end May till beginning July, all the yards located to Zhoushan area adapted so strict regulations which practically have rejected without prior notice most of the vessels already fixed to enter the yards for scheduled repairs. This reaction, apart from great inconvenience and losses caused to the Owners, resulted in vessels staying idle for a couple of days waiting for decisions, vessels deviating, in order to reschedule their repairs and ultimately created a very high demand and consequently overbooking on the rest of the shipyards in China with more relaxed measures.
This is only a fraction of the last-minute regulations we encountered this year, but is a very good example to evaluate the consequences they have in the ship repair market. On the one hand, we have a severe waste of vessel’s operational time for Owner’s side and waste of resources and manpower for the yard’s side. And on the other hand, we have a competitive disadvantage for the yards in specific areas and on the same time a huge demand to the yards in areas with looser regulations. This is a phenomenon we go through very often during the COVID era and has indisputably damaged a lot of entities being on the wrong side.
Trying also to dig out a positive impact of COVID. Besides the facts and the day-to-day challenges shipowners and shipyards are facing, both are now more matured from the pandemic. We have noticed a deep cultural change on the working pattern, crisis management and decision making. Both Owners and Shipyards are prepared for random changes and sudden problems to all directions. With different principals in place, all Owners have built up their resilience to new changes and they are ready to find amicable solutions to promote their businesses no matter how tough the problem to overcome is.

Apart from COVID, it’s been almost 2 years from the first massive wave of scrubber retrofits. Now we do have a complete picture of the scrubber installation problems which now have sufficient time in operation. Corrosion on the overboard pipe for example is a very common defect we met in most of the retrofits. Those systems will add some routine inspections and works to be done on the forthcoming scheduled dockings of those vessels.

Finally, trying to speculate the impact on the ship repair sector of the latest MEPC 76 session carried out and particularly the reduction of GHG Emissions from shipping, we believe there is no effect on the ship repair sector for the time being and we will not see the need of new retrofits and modifications which will affect the repair yards on the existing fleet very soon.


Chartering (Wet: Stable+ / Dry: Firmer)


With Capesize sector setting the positive tone, the dry bulk market enjoyed a considerable rise w-o-w. The geared sizes also supported last week's positive BDI performance. On the other hand, Panamax sector was the negative exception with BPI losing 107 points w-o-w. The BDI today (27/07/2021) closed at 3,166 up by 113 points compared to previous Tuesday’s (20/07/2021) levels. The crude carrier market has noted a weekly positive closure. However, T/C earnings remained at very low levels for another week. The BDTI today (27/07/2021) closed at 594, an increase of 4 points, and the BCTI at 471, an increase of 8 points compared to previous Tuesday’s (20/07/2021) levels.


Sale & Purchase (Wet: Softer / Dry: Softer)


The SnP activity has slowed down further this past week with a very low number of bulker and tanker units changing hands. In the tanker sector, we had the sale of the “FS SINCERITY” (48,045dwt-blt ‘09, Japan), which was sold to Greek buyers, for a price in the region of $14.0m. On the dry bulker side sector, we had the sale of the “NORDIC INCHEON” (35,817dwt-blt ‘18, China), which was sold to undisclosed buyers, for price in the region of $20.5m.


Newbuilding (Wet: Stable+ / Dry: Softer)


The newbuilding market activity has seen another weekly round of strong appetite with Container sectors having the lion's share among last week’s surfacing orders. Handysize units were present; Wisdom Marine inked a deal for four 40,000dwt vessels equally split between Imabari and Namura yards at a cost of around $29.0 million each. On the Tanker realm, an option for one 155,000dwt shuttle tanker was exercised by Shanghai North Sea at DSIC while South Korean owner, Sinokor, concluded a deal for the construction of six 50,000dwt MR units at K Shipbuilding, formerly known as SXT Offshore & Shipbuilding. The container sector continued to be extremely popular; a total of four 16,000teu units were ordered by CMB FL and Minsheng FL at GSI and DSIC respectively on the back of long-term T/C to MSC. Seaspan continues its massive orderbook with an order of ten 7,000teu boxships at Yangzijiang. Each vessel will cost around $105.0 million while a T/C to Zim is linked to the initial deal. Lastly, TS Lines ordered one 1,900teu boxship at Huangpu Wenchong while Briese Schiffahrts declared an option for two more 1,800teu units at Huanghai Shipbuilding which are added to the previous four units ordered one month ago.


Demolition (Wet: Firmer / Dry: Firmer)


Last week, the Eid holidays period had its own negative impact on an already sluggish demolition market. Ship recycling activity was slow in most regions while the number of offered vintage tonnage remained in short supply. As a result, average scrap levels remained at high levels with improvements being noticed across the main demolition nations. Bangladeshi buyers are now even offering bids above $600/ldt while the extended lockdown (until 5th August) seems that has no real effect on the buyer’s appetite. In Pakistan, such high levels have been a deal of renewed nervousness with breakers not ready to compete with their Bangladeshi rivals; as a result, several units have moved to Chattogram buyers during the past days. At the same time, Indian breakers have been pushing for a larger market share with improved offers compared to the previous week. However, their average levels are still remaining below their main counterparts in the Indian-subcontinent region. Lastly, the Turkish market was very quiet amid Eid festivities across the country with average offered scrap prices remaining steady w-o-w. Average scrap prices in the different markets this week for tankers ranged between 290-595/ldt and those for dry bulk units between $280-585/ldt.


Wet Chartering


The crude carrier market closed off on a slightly positive note, with rates across most of the business routes remaining almost steady w-o-w while a decline on bunker costs gave a small uptick on T/C earnings. Overall, increased tonnage availability prevents any meaningful improvement in rates. Oil prices at the same time managed to end the week up +0.7% erasing losses from the sell-off early in the week. However, bunker prices ended the week down with declines more pronounced on VLSFO (down -$10.0/ton in Europe and -$5.0/ton in Asia) while HSFO remained relatively stable.

Little has changed on the VLCC front, with rates remaining almost steady across all business routes. Minor increases on T/C earnings were materialized on the back of declining bunker prices which can not provide any real relief to owners who saw another week of poor earnings.
Rates for trips out of the West Africa Suezmax market managed to finish the week with gains albeit to a small extent while Black Sea rates moved in the opposite negative direction. Overall, T/C average Suezmax earnings increased by $392 w-o-w and formed at the $-2896 per mark. Aframax rates remained at low levels last week, with small improvements taking place across both the Med and the Baltic regions while the Caribs market noted a significant leg down.


Dry Chartering


Dry Bulk Freight rates declined over the week, except for Capesize which was driven upwards by a +40% rally in the transpacific supported by an increase in iron ore exports from Australia and weather disruptions to fleet supply in the Pacific, while FFAs also boosted sentiment. Panamax reversed downwards over the week with transatlantic earnings keep dropping at a faster pace and sentiment mixed. Supramax declined slightly on average but ended the week firmer on Pacific strength with coal being the driving force and the Atlantic firming on Black Sea grains.

Cape 5TC averaged $29,982/day, up +1.4% w-o-w, with the transatlantic earnings down -10.7% w-o-w and the transpacific up +19.5% on average w-o-w. As a result, the weekly average Cape transatlantic RV premium dissipated after 4 weeks and transpacific reversed to a premium of +$2,433/day up from a discount of -$6,605 the week before.

Panamax 4TC dropped for the 2nd consecutive week, down -6.9% w-o-w at $30,976/day on average, driven primarily by weakening fundamentals in the Atlantic- transatlantic RV earnings dropped -11.8% w-o-w, while transpacific declined by -5.3% w-o-w. The Panamax transatlantic earnings premium declined further from +$8,601/day the week before, down to +$5,699/day on average.

Supramax 10TC averaged $30,819/day down -1.0% w-o-w strengthening towards the end of the week, with the Pacific primarily supported by increased congestion caused by the typhoon and coal out of Indonesia regaining strength



Yiannis Parganas

Tamara Apostolou