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Hellenic Shipping News interviews Mr. Vaggelis Moutafis, head of Intertrade Marine

Monday, 05 October 2009 | 14:35

Being a member of the ship broking community in Hellas for many years, Vaggelis Moutafis, in charge of InterTrade Marine said in an interview with Hellenic Shipping News predicts a relative stability in the dry bulk market, provided that fundamental

economic factors don't change dramatically, as well as the balance between supply and demand remains relatively stable.
But, as he mentions, current scrapping activity and new building orders' cancellations activity aren't enough to offset the expected pace of deliveries of new vessels. As for second hand ship values, Mr. Moutafis states that it's almost a certainty among brokers, that older tonnage is most likely to fall further in value in the coming weeks, or months. This of course, will at least prompt some ship owners to scrap their older tonnage, instead of selling it.

The dry bulk market has remained subdued close to the 2,000 point (BDI) mark for quite some time now. Which are the reasons that have caused this drop from the 4,300 highs of early June?

Assuming one of the reasons why the BDI was raised to 4300 from the 2000 point level at early/mid May, was the fact of the early summer settlement of prices between Asia steel importers and large steel producers after several months of negotiations, a closure forced by the substantial reduction of steel reserves especially within China and therefore the new cargo orders for capesize and panamax bcs, set a new benchmark.
These orders are covered, Chinese liquidity is not so good, steel prices increased substantially, therefore traders are not in the mood for further stocks at present.
Consequently tonnage demand was reduced and the BDI has followed accordingly

Given that we haven't yet seen the largeer part of new building deliveries originally scheduled for this year, what s going to be the course of freight rates until the end of the year?

Freight market is unpredictable due to number of factors influencing the market however if the fundamental economy factors remain stable as well as the balance of supply and demand, then only usual market fluctuations are anticipated.

What part can a potential re-emergence of Chinese imports of iron ore play for the course of rates?

A vital and important part. Don t forget that Chinese opening to world trade was the major factor that changed the course of freight market few years back and same continue until now.

Is it vital for other steel producing countries to "wake" up as well, in order for a sustainable cargo demand to occur in the global market?

It could be a nice scenario but it s not enough. Global economy needs also more traders to wake up and most importantly consumers to be able to put new orders. Apparently, these days, neither traders, nor consumers are willing, or are able to do so.

From your experience are Hellenic ship owners looking to cancel part of their new building orders, or are they more focused to scrapping older bulkers?

Some new building orders reported cancelled or extended delivery dates but order book still remains high, considering the present market situation with older vessels keep on trading at low freight rates or lying waiting orders. Scrapping is not their first priority at this stage.

For the market to offset the wave of new tonnage ready to hit the water, what measures must be taken?

That's a question looking for an answer for many years, as tonnage over supply is not a new phenomenon. Delaying some of new deliveries and scrapping older tonnage at the same time, giving incentives to owners might be a solution.

Is current scrapping activity enough to support the market?

More and more traders are focusing on modern tonnage, forcing older vessels to scrap yards, however in our opinion present scrapping activity is insufficient to support the market.

Do you think that as 2009 nears to an end, we'll see more ships headed for demolition, regardless of the prices offered from scrap yards?

Freight market indicates minimum signs of such improvement able to absorb both old and new tonnage and as a consequence older tonnage will be forced to be demolished rather than laying idle for long time.

Have ship values in the second hand market completed their fall, or is it possible for further reductions?

There s no up and down limits in this volatile market. Further price reduction possibility for older tonnage, is almost a fact.

At current price levels, which ship types appear to be the most popular among investors?

LME panamax bulk carriers are the more popular vessels today with modern handymaxes following.

Nikos Roussanoglou, Hellenic Shipping News Worldwideο»Ώ

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