Delivery myth debunked

Newbuilding orders have soared in recent months but shipyards may be sitting on a bigger backlog of premium slots than some would have you believe, a leading brokerage told clients today.

In the latest edition of Fearnleys’ weekly industry overview the firm argued that the delivery schedules attached to a string of recent tanker orders serve as further evidence that decent slots still exist despite reports to the contrary.

“Activity for tankers is picking up,” the brokerage told clients Wednesday in reference to a series of suezmax and VLCC contracts that Sonangol and Maran Tankers placed at Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering in South Korea.

“The reported deliveries are all within 2016, which proves that the major shipyards still have relatively early delivery slots available,” it added before noting that prices in South Korea are holding steady despite the strengthening of the nation’s currency.

As we reported earlier this year a growing number of shipowners say they are not convinced by claims that nearly all of the prime newbuilding slots at top Asian shipyards were wiped out by the recent avalanche of orders.

In March the chief executive of Greek operator Safe Bulkers, Polys Hajioannou, accused shipyards of “playing games” by trying to “hide” berths that boast the most desirable delivery horizons in response to questions about availability.

“[Shipyards Safe Bulkers has encountered] are trying to sell very far away berths end of 2016 or early 2017,” he said, adding: “I’m totally convinced that there will be opportunities in the next 12 months towards their earlier berths at better prices.”