Danish shipping company J. Lauritzen has chartered additional bulk carriers as it expects dry cargo market improvements for the remainder of the year.
“During the first quarter of 2018, additional bulk carriers were taken on long-term time-charter in anticipation of further dry cargo market improvements,” Mads P. Zacho, CEO of Lauritzen, said.
Specifically, a total of six Handysize bulkers were taken on charter with options of extension as well as of purchase, J. Lauritzen said in its quarterly update.
In 2017, seven Handysize bulk carriers were taken on medium-term, up to two years, time-charter with options for extension.
The company also said that in Q1 2018 two gas carriers were reflagged to the Danish International Register of Shipping (DIS) and became the first J. Lauritzen owned gas carriers under Danish flag since 2003.
During the first quarter of this year, J. Lauritzen recorded a negative EBITDA of 6.2 million, against a negative EBITDA of USD 7.4 million in the same period of 2017.
“After the typical seasonal weakening at the beginning of the year, dry cargo markets picked up towards the end of Q1. The market for small gas carriers enjoyed the normal seasonal support, particularly the smallest size segments,” the company said.
“Lauritzen Bulkers is well positioned for the expected dry cargo market improvements during the balance of the year. However, our core fleet of owned and long-term time-chartered bulk carriers committed in previous years are not expected to reach break-even until 2019,” J. Lauritzen added.
In Q1, the average number of controlled bulk carriers were 83 compared to 82 in Q4 2017, while the average number of operated gas carriers reached 32 compared to 32 in Q4 2017, according to the company.