Container line giant AP Moller-Maersk is factoring in Red Sea disruption to last for up to a year. But even the positive effects of longer voyages around South Africa will not save the sector from an influx of newbuildings putting pressure on freight rates.
The group would have expected a loss for this period without ship rerouting, but is now close to breakeven, chief executive Vincent Clerc said as the company released its earnings. A $5bn loss could be incurred if the Red Sea situation is solved within a couple of weeks, while the forecast is more positive should disruption last for up to a year.
IN THE NEWS
Chemical tanker powerhouse Stolt-Nielsen has snapped up more than 3.2m shares in rival Odfjell, taking its overall holding to 13.6%. Stolt said in a securities filing with the Oslo Stock Exchange on Monday that it now had more than 8.23m shares, pushing it past a required disclosure threshold that comes with 10% of the stock. The swoop has brought the question of a chemical tanker mega-merger back into the spotlight.
Two major shipowners have placed orders for VLCC newbuildings at the same Chinese shipyard in a move that could see 14 VLCCs worth $1.8bn added to the orderbook. Seatankers booked up to eight vessels, while Capital Maritime & Trading booked up to six LNG dual-fuel tankers. The scale of the deal marks a notable increase in VLCC newbuilding activity following a prolonged period of limited action.
Greek majors and classification society Lloyd’s Register have launched a new initiative for greener shipping. Capital Group, Navios Maritime Partners, Neda Maritime Agency, Star Bulk Carriers and Thenamaris, which own and operate about 500 ships between them, signed up to launch the Maritime Emissions Reduction Centre (M-ERC).
The sale of South Korea’s largest liner company, HMM, to Harim Group, the country’s largest poultry processor, has collapsed. Sales discussions between Korea State Development Bank, Korea Ocean Business Corp and Harim, along with its private equity partner JKL Partners, fell through due to “differences over certain issues”.
Suez Canal toll fees have taken a dive as ships redirect around the Cape of Good Hope, but the diversions have had a mixed impact on freight markets. Veson Nautical data shows toll fees falling around 40% from the end of November 2023, dropping from $47m to $28m, with container ships representing just $6m at the beginning of January.
South Korea’s Polaris Shipping is closing in on the sale of six of its vessels after discussions regarding the company’s acquisition by a domestic private equity firm became “deadlocked”. Woori Private Equity Asset Management signed a memorandum of understanding to acquire Polaris in October last year, with a view to completing the deal by year’s end.
Evangelos Marinakis’ Capital Product Partners is waging an important transformation into a pure-play owner of LNG carriers, a transition that will require the disposal of a 15-strong fleet of container ships.
But accompanying the high-profile inflow and outflow of vessels is a subtler segue: Capital is dumping the master limited partnership (MLP) model it has embraced since its outset in favour of becoming a traditional “C Corporation”. The question might be asked: “What took them so long?” This is the subject of this week’s Streetwise finance newsletter by Joe Brady.
The appeal by an imprisoned chief engineer is testing the reach of the long arm of US law, reports Eric Priante Martin.
Denys Korotkiy was convicted after US prosecutors accused him of ordering crew members of a Liberian-flagged multipurpose ship to dump oily bilge water overboard on the high seas.
The US did not charge him with illegal oil dumping; that happened in international waters, after all. But his lawyer has argued in a federal appeals court that the US has no jurisdiction to prosecute foreign seafarers for a related crime: failing to document the discharge in the ship’s oil record book. Read this story in full here.
And finally, ship godmothers are usually drawn from the owner’s family — or even the ranks of celebrity. But Turkey’s Yasa Shipping has rewarded a Clarksons sale-and-purchase broker at the naming of a handysize bulker in China. The lucky lady is Katrine Birkholm.