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BULK - 10% of bulkers on order cancelled

10408 fcras 8/5 2009 10:59

Written by Perter Clarkson Thursday, 07 May 2009 20:31

The global financial crisis has seen nearly 500 vessels on order at the world's shipyards cancelled, including about 325 bulk carriers, 9.6% of bulk tonnage on order.

Norwegian classification society Det Norske Veritas, in its latest research estimates that 492 vessels, or 37.2m dwt, have been removed from the orderbook.

This figure includes 325 bulk carriers of around 28.2m dwt, 78 containerships and 47 tankers of 4.9m dwt.

The new estimates are nearly double those of rival classification society Lloyd's Register, which cites figures showing confirmed cancellations totalling 2.3% of the orderbook. France's Bureau Veritas confirmed that 40 newbuidings it was classifying have been cancelled.

The uncertainty over how many ships will be built reflects the lack of concrete information from yards in the world's two largest shipbuilding countries, South Korea and China, as well as their strategies to deal with owners who cannot raise the money to pay for a glut of ships on order.

Yards are reluctant to detail cancellations, but at least several major shipbuilders in China have accessed funds via government-backed banks to build and own cancelled bulk carriers, which will be begin trading by the year's end.

"This is an indirect subsidisation effectively," said Diana Shipping president Anastassis Margaronis. "It's not the way we saw [subsidisation] in the 1980s, but through the credit door or the finance door.

They're not reducing the price of the construction of ships by giving grants but they are facilitating the building of the ships by offering credit and debt to the yards."

Shipping executives who have recently visited yards in China, where half the world's bulk carriers are on order, reported that yards were keen to build ships, and open to requests for delivery deferrals, also offering to renegotiate prices based on any cost savings.

Bulk carriers comprise about 53% of the 556.5m dwt, or 8,950 ships ordered, nearly 70% of the existing fleet's capacity. These newbuildings are set for delivery at a time of lower-than-expected growth in seaborne demand for bulk commodities.

Mr Margaronis said Diana Shipping estimated that 22% of these bulk carriers would be cancelled in 2010 and 2011, based on research from London brokers Howe Robinson and Clarksons.

This would see a further 282 bulk carriers cancelled in 2010 and another 306 in 2011, based on "ballpark figures" that divided the average size of bulk carriers order by the total dwt.

Mr Margaronis said it was "extremely difficult" to build an accurate picture about the future bulk carrier fleet. "We present our company as potential purchasers of cancelled tonnage and yards are very reluctant to accept that some tonnage has definitely been cancelled, as it's definitely there to be sold, we are talking to four separate shipyards about tonnage which appears to be there for sale."

The legal position of yards was also uncertain, as they did not have clean title on vessels, even when the owner had defaulted on pre-delivery payments, Mr Margaronis said.

So far handymax bulkers of 40,000 dwt-59,999 dwt account for 35% of the dry bulk newbuilding contracts cancelled. Suezmax tankers accounted for the largest number of tanker cancellations, with 10 vessels dropped, DNV said. South Korean shipyards saw 194 ships cancelled. There were 161, or 12.9m dwt, cancelled at Chinese yards.
DNV has forecast that 30% of bulk carrier and container orders, and 10% of tanker newbuldings will not be built.

"To do a cancellation is quite costly and the big yards are saying no," said DNV senior vice-president Wilhelm Magelssen.

"We have a surplus of tonnage whether we like it or not. This would still have been the case without the financial crisis."

8/5 2009 12:03 fcras 010414

Cosco Zhoushan continues to adjust newbuilding contracts

Written by Perter Clarkson Thursday, 07 May 2009 20:23

The roll of newbuilding cancellations and delays at Cosco Zhoushan has continued with a contract for three more bulkers adjusted yesterday.

Parent Cosco Corp (Singapore) says one supramax has been axed and delivery of a 57,000-dwt brace has been pushed back at the Chinese facility.

It adds each of the vessels belongs to a single European owner, which also had a fourth bulker on order at Zhoushan.

Construction of the axed newbuilding, for which Cosco has been compensated, had yet to get underway, a statement says.

Of the three vessels to survive the cull, two have now been pushed back by a total of seven months.

Cosco says the first of the brace will now be handed over in June 2010, rather than March as originally planned. The second will hit the water in September of the same year, four months behind its original schedule.

The move will not have a material impact on the shipyard's balance sheet this year, the statement adds.

Goldenport of Greece is the only European owner with four supramaxes booked at Cosco Zhoushan, Clarkson says.

STX Pan Ocean, head quartered in South Korea but with European subsidiaries, also has four, while Leros Management has six.

A spokesperson for Goldenport refused to comment on the matter directly. He stressed, however, that as a listed company it would have to announce such a move to the London Stock Exchange.

Goldenport previously delayed delivery of a quartet of 57,000-dwt bulkers from Cosco Zhoushan in January this year. Two were pushed back by only a few months and the other two for up to 18 months.

A source at STX Pan Ocean (UK) says it has no vessels on order at Zhoushan, but she was unable to speak for other European units.

It was reported in February an Asian shipowner had put off the arrival of three supramaxes at Zhoushan.

That hold-up meant at least 18 bulkers have been delayed at Cosco yards since December