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Demolition activity needs to increase significantly this year as well

Friday, 27 January 2012 | 00:00
The oversupply of vessels in most shipping sectors is so intense that it’s become clear to ship owners that unless they scrap as many of their older ships as possible, freight rates are expected to remain at break-even lows or even worse. This has become particularly evident in the dry bulk shipping market, where the industry’s benchmark, the Baltic Dry Index has dropped yesterday to just 753 points, down 3.95% on the day and more than 60% since late last year.
Meanwhile, in the demolition market, as Golden Destiny mentions in its latest weekly report, “Bangladesh scrapping ban has been finally lifted, but the government has imposed a new 5% tax on purchasing vessels for scrap that is going to influence scrap buyers appetite on stronger purchases. The Bangladesh Shipbreaking Association is pushing for a reduction in the rate, down to 0.5% that could lead scrap prices to fall by as much as $25/ldt. Scrap prices for dry and wet cargo are close to $500/ldt, but the current freight market environment offers a strong incentive for shipowners to move with overaged vessel disposals and ease the pain of oversupply. India offers the best levels with Bangladesh to follow, $460-$470/ldt for dry and $480-$490/ldt for wet cargo.
The week ended with 17 vessels reported to have been headed to the scrap yards of total deadweight 1,009,630 tons. In terms of the reported number of transactions, the demolition activity has been marked with a 23% week-on-week decline, due to 30% lower volume of demolition transactions in the bulk carrier segment, whereas there has been a 28% increase regarding the total deadweight sent for scrap. In terms of scrap rates, the highest scrap rate has been achieved this week in the tanker segment by India for M/T “BOW PROSPER” with 12,200/ldt at $525/ldt. India has attracted 41% of the total demolition activity with China to
follow by winning 5 disposals. At a similar week in 2011, demolition activity was up by 18% from the current levels, in terms of the reported number of transactions, 20 vessels had been reported for scrap of total deadweight 669,529 tons with bulk carriers and tankers grasping 60% of the total number of vessels sent for disposal. India and Pakistan had been offering $465-$475/ldt for dry and $500-$505/ldt for wet cargo, while Bangladesh market had been inactive from the demolition scene” concluded Golden Destiny.
In a separate report, Clarkson Hellas said that the demolition market has remained very active, with many vessels being circulated and subsequently, a big list of sales to report. “However, to judge the market value of a certain ship is becoming increasingly difficult. As evidenced in the sales list, price levels seem like a ‘free for all’ with no actual pattern emerging, clearly highlighting that each vessels value is an individual case by case scenario. On paper, some units seem similar, yet for some reason, a price differential of anything upto USD 10/ldt can be witnessed.

On the buying front, the Chinese and Indian breakers are taking the plaudits this week.
China has been very busy as they looked to acquire tonnage prior to their New Year festivities and were bidding some aggressive numbers in an effort to claw tonnage away from the Indian sub-Continent. Time will now tell whether this recent positive momentum will continue when the market reopens again after their holidays.
India too emerged this week with increasing price levels. Whether these sudden improvements were from cash buyers over-speculating or actually justified on the back of the breakers indications remains to be seen, but some Owners would have definitely benefited from the sudden enthusiasm emanating from this market.
The good news is Bangladesh is definitely open and for an indefinite period too. Some Buyers are now willing to buy tonnage giving delivery February onwards as they believe the income tax situation would be resolved within this month. There remains however the problem of which breakers can actually open Letters of Credit internally. For Owners to consider Bangladesh as an option, a certain degree of caution must still be adopted. Last thing any Owner would wish for is to arrive at anchorage and delivery is unable to take place due to delayed payments. Some cash buyers are optimistic that no such issues will occur, however this is definitely the time for an Owner to tread carefully and wisely when considering selling their units to this area. Price levels on offer appear to be not as competitive as India. However, Bangladesh may soon offer a viable alternative to China for those vessels completing in the Far East. We need to see several vessels arrive, clear inward formalities and beach without delay to know 100 percent for sure that the market is officially ‘open for business’ concluded Clarkson Hellas
Nikos Roussanoglou, Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide
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