By A. Tsimplakis
Greek shipowners and Greek-controlled shipping companies appear more active over the recent period in the second-hand market and new orders sector, apparently judging that brighter prospects are on the horizon in terms of asset play and daily rates.
New orders by Greek-controlled shipping mostly involved tankers, whereas bulk carriers and used tankers dominate the second-hand market.
By all accounts, the next major transaction on line is by John Angelicoussis' Maran Tankers, which is a few signatures shorts of finalizing a deal with Korea's Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering for the construction of four VLCCs, each with a gross tonnage of 315,000 tons. A delivery date, if all goes as planned, is the first half of 2019.
A successful agreement and future delivery would increase the Angelicoussis ultra tanker fleet to 11.
A previous agreement between the two sides last April reached 250 million USD for three VLCCs, with the subsequent contract to include the inclusion of scrubbers on the new vessels, each costing between 2.5 and three million USD.
Lloyd’s List, in fact, notes that Maran and other major Greek shipping companies, such as Almi and the Onassis group's Neda Maritime, have also opted to install scrubbers on newly acquired VLCCs, in an effort to meet lower carbon emission specifications being mandated globally for ocean-going vessels.
On its part, Clarksons recently reported that the Angelopoulos group has 19 vessels under order, while retaining 31 VLCCs in its fleet of 120 ships.
Monte Carlo-based Central Shipping Monaco, controlled by shipowner Evaggelos Pistiolis, also recently placed an order with Korea's Hanjin Heavy for four eco long-range-two (LR2) tankers.
If the order is implemented in full - the deal involves a two+two option - the cost of the contract will reach 200 million USD.
The 2+2 LR2 tankers on order are among 41 under construction today around the world, Clarksons reports.
Another Pistiolis-controlled company, Nasdaq-listed Top Ships, recently established a consortium with Gunvor for the acquisition of two MR product tankers, which will be built by Hyundai Vinashin. The vessels are the 50K dwt Eco
Holmby Hills and its sister ship, the Eco Palm Springs.
At the same time, Metrostar Management doubled its order of aframaxes with Daehan Shipbuilding, to four. Each vessel is 115K dwt.
In terms of the second-hand market, Golden Union - controlled by the Veniamis family - continued its "safari" for maritime bargains, according to Allied Shipbroking, which reported the purchase of another capesize, the 180.200 dwt Cape Frontline, built in 2006, with a price tag of 17.5 million USD.
The company currently manages 43 bulk carriers, from capes to supramaxes.
Smaller bulk carriers have recently drawn the attention of Eastern Mediterranean Maritime (EastMed), controlled by Thanassis Martinou.
Specifically, EastMed purchased two supramaxes, each 58K dwt, the JS Pomerol (2011) and JS Bandol (2010), a deal worth 24 million USD.
With the acquisition, EastMed controls 12 supramaxes, and a total of 28 bulk carriers.