Pangaea Logistics’ three-year reign atop the earnings rankings of public dry bulk owners has come to an end, unseated by Pacific Basin Shipping.

Shed no tears for New York-listed Pangaea, though: it came a close second, and joined Hong Kong’s Pacific Basin as the only listed owners to achieve rates at a premium to the market, according to the annual VesselIndex report, published by Anders Liengaard and Soren Roschmann.

Benchmarks exceeded

The Danish researchers have established a proprietary ratings system that rates owners based on the particular characteristics of their fleet, rather than making a vanilla comparison between reported time charter equivalent rates and indices such as the Baltic Dry Index.

For 2020, it resulted in 17 of the 24 rated companies exceeding benchmarks in a year that featured the roller coaster ride of Covid-19 effects.

But a rising market in 2021 that sent many listed owners to record earnings made a big —and not unexpected — difference in how companies performed against the market.

“The general underperformance should come as no surprise, as it is assumably difficult to increase earnings at the same pace as the rising markets seen during large parts of 2021,” the researchers wrote.

“This is due to the time shift and fixed earnings versus the immediate effect that market changes have on the market indices.”

Still, Pacific Basin, with its fleet of 47 supramaxes and 97 handysizes, managed a 2.1% outperformance, equal to a TCE of $501 per day.

That nipped the 1.3% premium, or $330 per day, turned in by Pangaea for its fleet of 13 panamaxes and 11 supramaxes.

“As predicted in last year’s report, it became evident that many companies struggled to keep up with the risking market,” the researchers wrote.

“But the extraordinary market increases in 2021 were also expected to reveal which companies are more spot-oriented, and who could, for the first time in many years, be punished for their cargo-cover strategy,” the researchers wrote.

“It is notable that Pacific Basin Shipping and Pangaea Logistics are still to be found in the top rankings as they have a history of taking cargo cover.”

Pacific Basin was also the only company to outperform a “segment representation”, besting the Baltic Supramax Index by a healthy 14.1%.

The average performance of the 22 owners was a 17% deficit after having bested the market by 7.5% in 2020, 6.4% in 2019 and 4.4% in 2018.

Top 10 in focus

Rounding out the top five performers were Thoresen Thai Agencies with its 24 supramaxes (-2.2%), EuroDry with seven panamaxes and two supramaxes (-4.3%) and Oslo-listed 2020 Bulkers with its eight capesizes (-4.5%).

The next five were well-known New York-listed owners: Grindrod, Golden Ocean Group, Star Bulk Carriers, Eagle Bulk Shipping and Navios Maritime Holdings.

However, another big US-listed name, Diana Shipping of Greece, brought up the bottom of the list with a 43.5% underperformance, or $12,138 per day. It has 16 capesizes and 24 panamaxes.

Pacific Basin, which owns the 55,200-dwt Olive Bay (built 2015), had a big year in performance against the market Photo: Pacific Basin Shipping

Joining Diana in the bottom five were Uni-Asia Shipping with 10 handysizes (-41.9%), Globus Maritime with five panamaxes and four supramaxes (-35%), Malaysian Bulk Carriers with three panamaxes, three supramaxes and five handysizes (-30.3%) and GoodBulk with 22 capesizes and one panamax (-25.2%).

“It is less surprising to see that the companies at the bottom of the rankings such as Uni-Asia, Diana Shipping and Jinhui have underperformed the market quite substantially,” the researchers wrote.

“They have likely not been able to take advantage of the rising market in 2021 due to longer-term charter commitments. 2022 will show whether this strategy pays off in the long run, but no doubt they have left some money behind in 2021.”

Breaking news email
When major news events break, you can be one of the first to know. Keep on top of market-moving news from the fast-moving shipping industry with TradeWinds’ breaking news emails.

Liengaard and Roschmann also noted improved performances by a couple of US-listed owners that previously had been laggards.

Seanergy Maritime and Navios Holdings were able to raise their rankings 10 spots, with Seanergy reaching a new high of 12th place.

Diana was the steepest decliner, falling eight places.