Despite soaring steel prices and other hurdles, some shipyards and shipping companies are still able to strike deals for bulker newbuildings.

Globus Maritime, a Nasdaq-listed dry bulk company controlled by Greece’s Feidakis family, reported its first such order in its 16-year history.

The Athens-based company announced on Tuesday it has commissioned the construction of a 64,000-dwt ultramax at Nihon Shipyard (NSY) in Japan due for delivery in the first half of 2024.

Since setting up shop in 2006, Globus has relied on the secondhand or resale markets to expand.

However, trends in environmental regulations have spurred the company to change tack.

“We are very excited to commence this project with a well-respected shipyard,” said in a statement the company’s president and chief executive officer Athanasios Feidakis.

The move comes at a time in which bulker orders are rare as newbuilding prices have risen by about a quarter since last year, according to the latest analysis by Xclusiv Shipbrokers in Athens.

Globus, which owns nine ships from supramax to kamsarmax size, said it was spending $35.7m on the vessel, which will be built to comply with the latest requirements of Tier III emission standards of the International Maritime Organization.

The price compares with an average price of $34.25m that Clarksons estimates a vessel between 61,000 dwt and 63,000 dwt currently costs.

The premium paid by Globus reflects the superior quality that the market perceives Japanese-built tonnage to have.

Nihon is known to have won bulker business from just one other Greek owner recently —Samos Steamship, which ordered two capesizes in November last year.

The Globus order may be the first fruit of a dedicated NSY campaign to cultivate the Greek market.

The recently formed shipbuilding joint venture between Imabari Shipbuilding and Japan Marine United (JMU) decided recently to set up a representative office in Athens, as TradeWinds reported in January.

According to market sources speaking in Athens, Globus sees the newbuilding order as an opportunity to get a foothold into the Japanese shipbuilding market.

Encouraging markets

Greek companies such as Samos Steamship and Safe Bulkers have placed newbuilding orders in Japan as well, betting that high-quality vessels built to the latest standards will earn their money amid tighter environmental regulations.

Globus did not reveal in its statement if its single shipbuilding order at NSY includes options as well.

Market sources in Athens suggest that the ship will be conventionally fuelled and that there are currently no plans to equip it with a scrubber or for it to be LNG-ready — at least for the time being.

Globus said it intends to finance the newbuilding via a combination of debt and equity.

Encouraged by rising earnings and ship values, Globus expanded its fleet with acquisitions last year.

The company spent nearly $72m on three kamsarmaxes in 2021. The Feidakis family also expanded in the sector through privately-held vehicle Eolos Shipmanagement, which bought two such ships.

“We are continuously exploring opportunities for further growth and modernization of our fleet,” Feidakis said in a statement from Globus.