Shipowners: Is This the Right Time to Buy?

As the shipping industry continues sailing in a sluggish market, the shipowners are weighing the decision whether to buy ships while the prices are still low, it was said during the shipping exhibition Posidonia, taking place from June 6 to 10 at the Athens Metropolitan Expo.

Seven shipowners, which took part in a poll on whether the time is right to buy at the Posidonia TradeWinds Shipowners Forum, showed that the opinions are split, as three owners voted for buying, three said they would wait for the time being, and one shipowner abstained.

Capital Maritime, Navios and Ridgebury Tankers said they would buy more vessels, Philippe Louis-Dreyfus, Eastern Mediterranean and Euronav voted against buying, while Tsakos Energy Navigation (TEN) declined to vote either for or against buying, saying that, although buying and selling would be fine, companies should not order newbuildings.

Given the 30-year low prices, Greek shipowners share the opinion that this is a good time to invest in dry bulk tonnage, as long as owners have the money and do not invest in newbuildings.

Shipowner George Procopiou, while speaking at the Capital Link Forum at Posidonia, said that “the market will come back on any ship type,” while the CEO of Synergy Maritime Holdings, Stamatis Tsantanis, added that the dry bulk market would bounce back, just as the tanker market did a few years ago.

However, while the vessels prices may be low, the shipowners need to be able to sustain the vessel operations through the current market.

John Coustas, the CEO of containership company Danaos, said that shipowners must approach the issue with caution, as it is much easier to order a newbuild vessel than to buy a secondhand one.

Owners of boxships were not that optimistic with regard to recovery of the container shipping market.

Namely, the container shipping industry has experienced a sharp decline over the past year as it saw some of the lowest container freight and charter rates in the sector’s history.

Shipowners said that the freight rates are too low, adding that the outlook for the sector would remain tough due to an oversupply and low demand.

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