Can we trust on-line info in shipping?

Yesterday’s I was reading an article written by Lena Göthberg*, being, as she introduces herself « a shipping business woman with the ambition to get the shipping industry going in the digital universe ». DIGITAL, sounds big and innovative, it’s probably bit restrictive to say Digital is on-line, but let’s start from somewhere. And let me wonder if we shall always believe on-line information we can get ?

Let’s start with bit of talk about Equasis. Remember, on 12th october, I was mentioning you this one : «  A bulk carrier under charter to a Rio Tinto subsidiary has been arrested in Australia after inspectors found close to no food onboard and that crew had not been paid in months. ».

Finally this lady is reported on equasis being detained during three days back on 7th october. This has been updated last week, as on 20th october, equasis records on this ship was still not mentionning anything about this detention. On MarineTraffic, today this ship is now underway, using engine in the East Coast Australia, in the Coral Sea.

We can believe Owners in between paid crew wages and supplied food and fresh water to ensure a decent voyage to the crew. If not done by the Owners, it’s been paid and supplied by the Charterers, ie Rio Tinto, who needs to get the cargo delivered to the destination. Charterers has most probably taken over the pending issues and once cargo delivered they’ll start a battle toward their owners counter Party who has not fullfilled their duty.

Going further on this case, still on Equasis ship Manager/commercial Manager of the said lady,  is showing «4 ships in the Company » and Equasis did not updated the whole datas about these owners counter party as it’s showing, « 4 ships and no detention in the last 3 years » !

Then, checking the « fleet information » about these Owners, as mentionned above, it’s said 4 ships. Checking at the list of ships under their commercial management, Equasis is showing 5 ships ! I won’t disclose the names of the ladies here, I’m a broker not a snitch.

However, Owners of this ship, is having a website with a lovely « Code of Conduct » which as you can imagine is all about « committment to maintaining the highest standards of business and ethical conduct […] deal fairly with the Company’s customers, suppliers, competitors,officers and employees », on their website, they have a fleet of 4 handies. You still follow me?

Putting aside the crewing management, what does this mean?

It means a delay of about 15/20 days between a major event (ie detention) is occuring on a ship and the time it is reported on equasis has to be taken into consideration. During these 15/20 days, it also means, you (we) can book a ship which will hardly perform what she has been fixed for or will perform but against charterers intervention, and charterers fullfilling owners duties (in other words paying extra money to make it happen).  And despite doing due diligence, all the parties involved, can only -but hardly- rely on information available on line.

My demo above is charging Owners, but it could easily be the other way round, no needs to be Sherlock Holmes to find examples of charterers (being reported regularly via circulars) with the latters failing to fullfill their CP obligations despite these charterers having a very nice website and somehow good track records.

This also means digital (or on-line) information is one thing, what you do with this information is another one and having the capacity to cross and check information you have gathered is the ultimate thing.

Equasis is a database recording all ships around the world and their management, we can see it seems to be a complex duty to track, update and gather all information. Up to my knowledge there is no equivalent about database for charterers. Would it make sense to build up one ? It should be easy task, as according to Bimco market report dtd 6th october 2016, on one side we have very fragmented structure of Ownerships, on the other side, less and less customers, to take back Bimco’s words « this is a good example of what economists calls « Oligopsony » : a market with limited number of buyers and a large number of sellers ». Setting up this « equasis for charterers » will be then a fun task when we will realize market is surrounded by operators, operators being by essence, charterers towards headowners and owners towards final charterers. (To me this is the limit of Bimco analysis, not talking at all about the operators). Do you still follow me?

What about Market, with or without operators ? handies in the Atlantic are in a fairly good shape, it’s noticeable to find out in the atlantic, front and back hauls are all in positive mood. Which is not helping charterers willing to cover their cargo from Continent/baltic to West Africa. Owners still aiming for a premium to consider such destination, as all in all they will still have the ballast on their account. On top, heading to Wafr means the ship will be in ECSA within 45/50 days, all going well which is 2nd half December, maybe not the ideal timing to find the right Christmas cargo. Finally, Owners may feel confident about the Atlantic routes remaining positive for the next weeks and Owners shall be allowed to wonder where will the routes heads up for the end of the year.

Still no route focusing on the Black Sea origin but, at least for the grains, this is the place to be for owners. As you can see in attached report, mv ‘KBS STAR’ 2007- built 30,548-dwt -fixed asf dly Nemrut Bay (hence aps, as the ship was circulated open there) for 1trip via Black Sea and Adriatic with redelivery passing Otranto at $8,250 per day . We also got information from others about charterers being on subjects for 10-15 November 25,000 tonne stem of corn at $14.00 basis Nikolaev loading to 1-2 ports Venice-Pozzallo range. In today’s comments on BMTI, 15 days employement on a 38’000dwt, owners are asking USD 9’500 daily.

Finally, today’s BMTI report, mentionning in their section called « Industry Entering Stormy water ». You’ll notice the merging movement from the japanese containers carriers, merging to be able to cut cost by 1billion USD, knowing the 3 of them, is forecasting losing 5billions usd in 2016. You’ll also notice, container panamax being less than 10 years old are sent to scrap, a japanese built lady ! a deadfull needed movement, knowing more than 85 looking like ladies are at sea, looking for an employment. Finally, I would have called the section bit differently. I would have just chosen to write « being in the middle of » rather than « entering », but this is a detail. Are you with me?

*you can find here, Lena’s digital production :

Let me simply wish you a nice digital, on-line day, and if you’re still with paper and pen, you’re probably not reading this today’s market comment. Anyway have a nice All saints day also.



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