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HANSA 09-2021

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MÄRKTE | MARKETS Dry market firing on all cylinders Freight rates in the dry cargo market rallied last month, spurred by long-haul ore shipments and grains. By Michael Hollmann Sentiment across the dry bulk trades was lifted notably over the last four weeks as the Baltic Dry Index pushed up by 28 % to almost 4,000 points – its highest since May 2010. While the smaller geared bulkers saw steady improvements again and panamax earnings recovered, the true highlight was the steep rise in the capesize spot market in mid-August. The time charter average (5TC) for the 180,000 dwt index vessel breached through the 40,000 $ barrier for the second time this year to reach a new year-to-date high of 47,361 $/day on 19 August. Brokers reported strong activity and a general lack of tonnage both in the Atlantic and the Pacific which comes as a surprise given latest developments in the China’s steel industry which is arguably the dominant driving force for capesize chartering. Steel production in China dropped by 8 % month-on-month during July after sustained pressure from Beijing. The government is bent on reining in output in a bid to control commodity inflation and also carbon emissions, reports say. Demand for iron ore seems to have softened significantly as prices dropped by –25 % within two weeks. Yet, seaborne trades appear to have evaded a slowdown, with broker reports pointing to a sudden rise in export activity from Brazil to China as from early August following a lacklustre July. This would suggest that ton mile demand for seaborne iron ore has not been affected by the recent fall in China’s steel sector. What’s coming from China? Can this be sustained or will seaborne iron ore volumes falter eventually if Beijing forces domestic steel producers to limit output further over the coming months? The freight futures market is slightly pessimistic, rating the time charter average of capesize bulkers a bit weaker for the rest of the year. However, a broad upward trend in cargo volumes for all other bulker types may help support the cape segment. In addition, port congestion caused by anti-Covid protocols and quarantine provisions continues to offer support. Data from French ship broker Barry Rogliano Salles (BRS) shows that average waiting times for vessels at main iron ore ports across the globe doubled to more than 5 days since June. Furthermore, fleet growth is lagging expectations with scheduled deliveries of bulker newbuildings lower than forecast in the first half of the year, BRS said. Meanwhile the setting for the smaller bulker classes remains remarkably stable. Panamax bulkers, which were caught in a lull between the end of the South American and the start of the North American grain season, saw spot time charter earnings recover by 5 % to almost 34,000 $/day. Supramaxes and handysize bulkers notched up gains of 12 % and 8 %. A major source of demand for all them is the grain season in the Black Sea which is absorbing large amounts of tonnage from the Mediterranean/Continent and as far afield as Southeast Asia. Since June, the Canakkale-Far East index route for VIEWPOINT »Joyride for handy bulkers to contine« A broad cargo mix, de-containerisation and a record-low orderbook are putting handysize bulkers on a par with bigger vessels in terms of earnings power these days. Michalis Voutsinas, head of research at Greek shipbroker and Baltic Exchange panelist Doric Shipbrokers, expects a healthy market »around current levels« also for next year. Michalis Voutsinas Head of Research Doric Shipbrokers The rise and rise of handysize charter rates beyond 30,000 $ is remarkable. Other segments are showing greater volatility. What‘s driving the increases? Voutsinas: 2020 set the scene for one of the most impressive first half-years. Pentup consumer demand and increased public spending contributed to a robust recovery, pushing container and dry bulk freight rates higher. This was further augmented by the impact of Covid-19 on congestion and port delays. In fact, the active fleet decreased as the number of vessels caught up in congestion increased. Finally, record high container © Doric freight rates forced some shippers to turn to bulk or ro-ro trades, incrementally supporting Baltic indices, and predominantly those of the geared segments. Growth in regional trade, a strong rebound in minor bulks and ‚de-containerization‘ have unfolded nicely, especially for the handysize. How significant is the overflow of cargoes from the booming container market? Voutsinas: The first such cases can be traced back to early February. Since then, volumes of goods including bagged rice, cement, fertilisers, semi-finished steel parcels and general cargo continue to flow into the dry bulk and break bulk sectors. Even though there are no signs of a slowdown, the effect of these new trades is rather limited given the volumes involved. That being said, in a firm market, any marginal increase in demand can actually have a material impact on balancing levels. 10 HANSA – International Maritime Journal 09 | 2021

Orders & Sales New Orders Container After some busy weeks in terms of orders, the market has recently calmed down again somewhat. Among the latest ordering parties are TS Lines (6 x 1,100 TEU) and the German Briese group. The Leer-based company declared options for two additional 1,800 TEU vessels. Since the beginning of the year, more than 370 ships with around 3.3 mill. TEU have been ordered. Secondhand Sales In light of the continuing hunger for tonnage even the summer did not bring the se - cond-hand carousel to a standstill. Successful deals include the sale of two 14-year-old 2,747 TEU vessels by Schoeller for a reported 76 mill. $. MSC was also active again, taking over 18 feeders with an average age of 25 years from John Fredriksen‘s SFL, which itself acquires two 14,000 TEU vessels from an unnamed seller. Demolition Sales The unprecedented profits made in container sectors saw owners flocking to the charter and S&P markets, turning their backs on the scrap market despite lucrative prices: scrapping has fallen 78 % compared to 2020. Seven of the ten container ships scrapped this year were small Feedermax vessels, all 25 years or older. Even if scrap prices continue to rise, it is unlikely that many more containers will be scrapped in the second half of the year. supras (58,000 dwt) went up by more than 20,000 to 56,400 $/day. Availability of handy vessels in the East Med/Black Sea has tightened enough for a 36,000 dwt vessel (»Densa Falcon«) to achieve 42,000 $/day for a cement trip to the US Gulf with delivery in Port Said. No less impressive is a renewed strengthening in rates across the Pacific assisted by high activity in Southeast Asia as well as Australia and by delays due to quarantine and congestion. An Australian round-trip basis delivery Thailand was reportedly fixed at 41,000 $ on a 37,000 dwt unit, topped only by fixtures in the everbuoyant Middle East/India region. Container ship t / c market 2800 2400 2000 1600 1200 800 18.03.2021 MÄRKTE | MARKETS COMPASS ConTex 19.08.2021 Month on Month 2,864 +22.0 % Container freight market WCI Shanghai-Rotterdam WCI Shanghai-Los Angeles Dry cargo / Bulk Baltic Dry Index Time charter averages / spot: $/d Capesize 5TC average Panamax 5TC average (82k) Supramax 10TC average (58k) Handysize 7TC average (38k) 13,698 $/FEU 10,969 $/FEU Forward / ffa front month (Aug 21): $/d Capesize 180k Panamax 82k MPP 3,976 47,361 33,782 35,603 33,685 46,950 37,129 TMI Toepfer's Multipurpose Index August '21 12,435 $ +4.8 % +10.2 % +28.1 % +57.4 % +5.4 % +11.9 % +8.4 % +30.2 % +9.0 % How much more upside is there for the (handysize) spot market? Voutsinas: Setting aside the external boost from the »de-containerization« trend of late, much of the segment‘s future will depend on its own supply and demand dynamics. The handysize orderbook hit an all-time minimum of circa 6 % of the fleet due to low contracting activity. Uncertainty over eco-friendly vessel designs and future zero-carbon fuels is keeping investors away from the yards. With this tendency remaining relatively stable, freight rates found another pillar of support, this time from the supply side of the market. As far as demand goes, minor bulks tend to follow GDP growth, and with 6 % expected for this year fuelled by vast stimuli, the outlook for minor bulk demand is very positive. Looking ahead to next year, developments on both sides of the market are supporting a very healthy trading environment around current levels. The handysize business is often referred to as stable, conservative, less volatile. How do you see the evolution of handy operations in the longer run? Voutsinas: Following developments in port facilities and staple trade runs, the average size of a typical handysize kept increasing during the last 15 years. In fact, the new design handysizes are quite nimble, very fuel-efficient and as a consequence can offer freight at dollarper-ton shipped not much higher than the larger handymaxes and supramaxes. This goes partly against the conventional economy-of-scale narrative and hence raises the relative earnings of the handysize. In anticipation of the new IMO regulations along with increased activity in regional trades, the handy segment is about to enter a new captivating era. mph August '20 6,492 $ 12,500 tdw MPP/HL »F-Type« vessel for a 6–12 months TC Tankers Baltic Dirty Tanker Index Baltic Clean Tanker Index Shortsea / Coaster Norbroker 3,500 dwt earnings est. HC Shortsea Index ISTFIX Shortsea Index 607 554 3,700 21.74 1,781 +2.7 % +0.7 % –9.8 % –2.2 % +20.3 % Norbroker: spot t/c equivalent assessment basis round voyage North Sea/Baltic; HC Shipping & Chartering index tracking spot freights on 5 intra-European routes; Istfix Istanbul Freight Index covering spot freight ex Black Sea Bunkers VLSFO 0.5 Rotterdam $/t MGO Rotterdam $/t Forward / Swap price Q4/21 VLSFO 0.5 Rotterdam $/t 469 554 469 –5.2 % +0.7 % –5.1 % Data per 19.08.2021, month-on-month HANSA – International Maritime Journal 09 | 2021 11

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