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HANSA 10-2021

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MÄRKTE | MARKETS MPP/HL market swings to all-time high Overspill of container cargoes and loss of fleet productivity provide major boost to vessel earnings in project/breakbulk trades. By Michael Hollmann The extreme capacity shortages in global container trades, a healthy level of project cargo volumes and improved freight rates for bulk commodities all conspire to push profitability for multipurpose/heavy lift vessels to levels unseen so far. Average period charter rates for 12,500 dwt multipurpose ships have more than doubled year-on-year after another 13% increase to more than 14,000 $/day in early September, according to Hamburg shipbroker Toepfer Transport. Fixtures are very rare due to a lack of open vessels as all operators keep a tight grip on the tonnage they have on charter or under commercial management. Single deals for 12,000 dwt ships are believed to have been done at $ 20,000 and higher for periods up to one year. However, anecdotal reports from freight forwarders, brokers and ship operators themselves suggest that freight rates have climbed even faster, pushing daily vessel income (time charter equivalents, TCE) beyond record levels of the early/mid 2000’s. Advanced designs in the 12,000–17,000 dwt size bracket are today generating 6-digit dollar levels per day, market insiders tell HANSA. They are thus following in the footsteps of smaller container ships, with 1,700 TEU ships already netting levels around 200,000 $/day on the basis of spot cargo rates as early as June, according to Peter Döhle’s Maritime Overview report. Freights escalating Freight costs for breakbulk and heavy load cargoes on tramp project vessels have doubled or even tripled over the last 9–12 months, as rate increases accelerated over the past months. One forwarder said a recent charter trip he had arranged saw its price escalating from 500,000 $ to 1.7 mill. $ since obtaining a first carrier quote in late 2020. Another one highlighted a cargo lot out of Asia fixed at 600,000 $, compared with a quote of 350,000 $ only a few months earlier. A lot of project cargo owners including largevolume shippers from the wind turbine sector are reported to have been taken aback and squeezed by the sudden rise in freights since committing to delivered prices with their own customers over the past 6–12 months. Representatives of plant manufacturers Uhde/Thyssenkrupp and Braunschweigische Maschinenbauanstalt (BMA) confirmed at the recent BHV Project Logistics Forum in Bremen that their budgets were strained, making renegotiations with customers necessary were possible. Andreas Rolner, managing director of United Heavy Lift (UHL), admits that the current market rally is extreme but a rebound from the distressed rate levels over the past years was more than overdue, he argues. Though it may be hard for cargo owners to adjust to the new reality, previous budget targets of -7 or -8 % freight savings year-on-year were simply not sustainable, Rolner says. However, clients could avoid some of the pains by fixing longer-term forward contracts instead of booking most of their requirements spot or prompt as in the past, making business more predictable and secure for themselves and for the carriers. This is little comfort, though, to shippers sitting on urgent cargoes as short term space availability is extremely tight – especially in the Far East, the main loading region for multipurpose vessels. »Lead times for bookings have increased from 2–3 weeks back in March to 2–3 months in September and the backlog of cargo keeps growing«, explains Marko Stampehl from tramp project operator BBC Chartering. Hamburg-based dship Carriers are also booked out 60 days in advance for loadings in Asia, according to its managing director Lars Feller. The situation is significantly aggravated by port congestion and vessel queues in the Far East where terminal productivity remains subdued due to corona. »5–7 days waiting time is considered to be normal. However, we are also VIEWPOINT Market tight but »no total service failure« Shipping logistics in the project sector has become tough, but it’s still manageable, says Colin MacIsaac, CEO of forwarder Bertling Logistics Group. The company sees growing new business enquiry for projects after a lull earlier this year. Colin MacIsaac CEO – Bertling Logistics Group The ocean freight market has become a nightmare for many. How do you cope with the space shortages? MacIsaac: One of the biggest challenges is the MPP sector losing tonnage to container trades. There has been a drift. We were recently bidding on a wind farm project with a specific class of ships, and then 2 weeks into the negotiations with our customer, the shipowner decides to move the ships to a container service. Such problems © Bertling Logistics come up these days. Still, most traditional breakbulk and project carriers want to stay operating breakbulk. Freight rates are incredibly high and there are some delays, however there is not any issue of total service failure. We are not seeing that at all. Global economic activity has been more stable lately, does that apply to project freight demand, too? MacIsaac: Yes and no. It’s a mixed bag. Across all segments, project activities that had been suspended have come back in an erratic manner. There has been a general hesitancy and recalculation from some of our customers [in oil & gas] who are taking a fresh look at some investments under the changed circumstances. 10 HANSA – International Maritime Journal 10 | 2021

Orders & Sales New Orders Container The new building market remains very buoyant (see page 35). Most recently Evergreen stood out with orders for 24 vessels. French CMA CGM and OOCL were also active and inked contracts. From Germany, Nordic Hamburg confirmed an order for three »LNG-ready« 1,400 TEU vessels, for which a 10-year (!) charter was signed with BG Freight. Brokers expect more orders to follow in the next weeks. Secondhand Sales In some segments, sales candidates are slowly becoming scarce, at least those that will soon be charter-free and promise high new rates. However, there are still several deals, among others MSC is continuing its shopping spree. The liner company recently secured six former Rickmers-Panamax ships from the US fund Mangrove. For the 5,060 TEU ships built in 2005 and 2006, a total of around 0 million was paid. Demolition Sales In view of the high revenue opportunities, it is not surprising that demolition of container vessels is not at the top of shipowners‘ agendas. Nothing to be heard from the scrap sales market at the moment. seeing cases of 15–20 days which are getting more frequent,« Feller points out. Meanwhile cargo demand is still growing as the project carrier market gets swamped with full or part loads of containers and wind turbine equipment. »There is going to be run for capacity by turbine shippers from now until the end of the first quarter. Various projects for example in the Baltic Sea are waiting for urgent components,« Feller says. Sources at major freight forwarders in Germany and Denmark also say that they expect a rush of cargo in the renewables sector. Justin Archard, partner of One World Shipbrokers, points out that the firm’s Market Sentiment Index (MSI) for What used to be planned for a 15-year lifecycle might now just be 7 or 10 years [due to the energy transition]. As a result, some projects are scaled back, budgets reviewed or project requirements changing. What’s the shape of new business today? What kind of tenders are you dealing with? MacIsaac: It’s an exciting mix with quite a bit of activity for LNG production facilities, refinery facilities and the petrochemical sector in general, the latter especially in Western Europe. We are also looking at a suite of projects in the Baltic Sea area, particularly in Russia, also in Qatar (North Field expansion) and in Saudi-Arabia with the planned Neom mega city development. mph project shipping has kept rising since its launch at the start of the year. The latest reading was up from 51.3 to 52.3 (50 = neutral, above 50 = optimistic). »There are no signs of letting up in the near term. All respondents to the most recent MSI predict the market will be stronger in 6 months time,« according to Archard. Still overspill from containers Although completely new mega projects could still be 1 or 2 years off, freight forwarders expect cargo tendering activity for midsize projects to pick up again towards the end of the year driven by the LNG, petrochemical and mining sectors. Not to forget, though, one supersize project already awarded and about to ramp up cargowise is Qatar Petroleum’s massive North Field expansion, with 1 mill. freight tons believed to come up for loading in 2022. At the same time, mpp vessel supply continues to be strained by charter demand from the container trades. All major project carriers except a very few heavy load specialists are seen taking in container business on a regular basis these days. Some ships have even been fully committed to container trades for short-to-medium periods like the 2003-built Rickmers superflex type »Lila Mumbai« (Ex-»Rickmers Antwerp«). While most of its sisters were already broken up, this one has survived to earn some of the best earnings of its lifetime trading on behalf of BBC Chartering in the transpacific box trade. Container ship t / c market 3100 2700 2300 1900 1500 1100 September '20 6,545 $ 27.04.21 Tankers Baltic Dirty Tanker Index Baltic Clean Tanker Index MÄRKTE | MARKETS COMPASS 610 485 +0.8 % –0.4 % Shortsea / Coaster Norbroker 3,500 dwt earnings est. HC Shortsea Index ISTFIX Shortsea Index 4,050 21.98 2,232 +9.4 % +1.1 % +25.3 % 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 ConTex Container freight market WCI Shanghai-Rotterdam WCI Shanghai-Los Angeles TMI – Toepfer's Multipurpose Index Forward / Swap price Q4/21 VLSFO 0.5 Rotterdam $/t 14,356 $/FEU 12,424 $/FEU 540 610 523 23.09.21 Month on Month 3,170 + 8.2 % Dry cargo / Bulk Baltic Dry Index 4,651 Time charter averages / spot: $/d Capesize 5TC average 61,683 Panamax 5TC average (82k) 35,947 Supramax 10TC average (58k) 36,838 Handysize 7TC average (38k) 34,486 Forward / ffa front month (Oct 21): $/d Capesize 180k 47,336 Panamax 82k 36,582 MPP +3.4 % +9.3 % +10.9 % +23.1 % +2.1 % September '21 14,038 $ –2.6 % +0.7 % +4.7 % +0.0 % 12,500 tdw MPP/HL »F-Type« vessel for a 6–12 months TC +15.1 % +10.1 % +11.5 % Data per 23.09.2021, month-on-month HANSA – International Maritime Journal 10 | 2021 11

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