how to handle the drybulk sector downturn?

Yesterday BMTI was mentionning a “COFCO cargo of 27kmt of Rapeseeds at 10USDPMT which is giving a tce at 2’000usd daily according to a broker”. For your guidance, full cargo specs is asf 27,000 10% RAPESEEDS CONSTANZA (12,000X) TO GHENT (10,000X) OR ROTTERDAM (10,000X) OR ROSTOCK (6000X) 29-30 JUNE and Cofco is apparently seeing touch below 10usdpmt (bss Ghent) which basis our calcs is giving like tce dely passing canakkale @ USD 2’000/2’250 daily… according to our database, 15 handies less than 20yrs old open BLSEA/MARMARA SEA are able to compete on this cargo. Whichever the candidate will finally take this cargo, we are again still struggling to understand the logic behind the US$ 2’750 daily reported from Blsea to USG unless USG is likely to lose the little momentum seen in the last weeks.

With such low figures, what to do when you’re an owners?

I thought I found the reply to this question in a famous on line shipping newpaper with an article showing an appealing sexy title: “Greek ship management company **** shares its strategy for handling the downturn in the dry bulk sector” and the content of the article, is to my opinion as deceptive as the title is looking sexy.

The boss of **** starts with “we are small owners” (as a background, company ****, is owning/managing abt 10 modern bulkers from 80kdwat to 95kdwat)” “Being smaller speeds up decision-making processes and gives us the flexibility to trade whatever is more profitable and efficient.” —> Then allow me to say, it’s not strategy here but only an obvious statement.

Bit further same boss explain: “it would be nice, as an owners, to have better access to the cargoes”. —> You bet! it would be great and it would probably make sense to load the ships with some cargoes at some stage. But again I do not read much in the article about his plans to be able to have access to more cargoes. (or the idea to set up a owners Forum seems to me to be a bit light and is existing already, no?).

then, further on, we learn that “developping seafarers competences to improve safety and efficiency“… Is something important.—>If I may say, yes I think it’s a good idea, but again it’s about objectives, not strategy!

Then ++++ (*****’s boss) is quoted by the journalist about the importance of the relationship with the class society. —>Ok, fine, glad to read “class can make a big difference“. It’s also probably why big charterers not willing to trade ships being under funky classes.

And to conclude, we read that the important next step is to build up new designed ships Post-Panamax and Kamsarmax Carriers with less draught (ie 13.50 in lieu of current usual 14.50) and to obtain such go for a widder BEAM at 36mtrs this in order to be able to enter in shallow draft ports in SEASIA and AFRICA and SOUTH AMERICA

 Doing a shortcut then, can we say that the right strategy as an owners to survive this industry downturn is to order new ships with a better design, being 20/30% more eco on energy than the current ones and being less drafty? Ordering new ships (whichever their design) will mean more ships at sea right? it will also means current fleet at sea is becoming obsolete less than 10 yrs after being delivered, or I’m wrong?

All in all, I don’t know, I’m not an Owners, I don’t know much about owning and operating a fleet. I’m just a broker having access to few cargoes, few ships and trying to make owners/charterers needs matching for a certain lapse of time. Of course it’s very important for me to say that I have full sympathy for ++++ boss of ****, I also have full respect for the shipping on line news who proposed this article but I’m still starving about the right strategy for handling the downturn in the drybulk sector.

Finally, to end up on something positive, impossible to open any newspaper this week without reading some comments and analysis (or guessings on what may happen if Brits say YES, what may happen if Brits say NO), today an analysis from Freightinvestor, and with such a name, let’s believe we are in front of experts again. in nutshell:

“If the vote is in, then surging currency markets could see oil and iron ore looking once again like better long term investments. If however the UK votes out, then the future could be very different. The pound could drop as much as 20% as investors flee for the safety of the dollar. This in turn will scupper any chance of an interest rate in the US as the jobs market is clearly in balance of lower employment figures. For commodities markets it would be a double threat. The rising dollar will put pressure on commodity pricing, but the real threat will be the ripple effect if instability engulfs Europe.” full article here: here

Brexit, yes or no? we’ll see in between let’s fix something before 23rd June which is my strategy for our shop to handle the downturn. Be sure we are at your disposal and we are ready to fix more than 1 cargo/ship if you really want.

*I did not put any names in my demo, I’m a broker and who knows tomorrow I might need to fix these ships and it’s better to remain friends before that.


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