Greek Shipping News Cuts
Week 25 - 2006

 

Container ships on course

---The container shipping business seems to have entered a positive period of intense activity, after seeing freight rates drop over the last couple of years.
In the second half of last year, time-chartering of ships carrying containers dropped by about a third, while in the first quarter of 2006 most routes showed consolidation trends. But in the last few months, some of the losses have been recovered: It is estimated that shipowners recovered about $150 out of the $500 of losses per container.
Most shipowners expect further recovery in the summer months, so analysts do not see this year as particularly negative, as they initially had, though it will not be better than 2005.
The lack of tonnage supply, at least until this fall, and the maintenance of steady demand have improved the picture for time-chartering, while shipowners have been able to make even long-term contracts of three or four years. Some companies actually expected to see the return of the five-year chartering contracts which have not been seen since early last year.
What may justify this improvement is the rise in the consumer index in the USA. In the first quarter of the year, there was an increase in consumption on the other side of the Atlantic, coming close to the peak of the last two years.
Nevertheless, it looks as though the next couple of years will be decisive, since in 2007 and 2008 new ships are due for delivery with a combined capacity of 1.3 to 1.4 million containers per year. Consequently, the market will require annual growth in demand (for the shipping of goods by container) of about 15 percent so as to avoid oversupply and a decline in freight rates.
Analysts note that by early May container ship orders with a combined capacity of only 430,000 containers were in place for delivery in 2009. With the global market growing by 9 percent annually, it means that ships carrying 1.1 million containers per year will be required to cover demand, while capacity will grow by 1.4 million containers by 2008.
Danaos Shipping
Greek companies in the sector have been particularly active recently, including Danaos Shipping of Dimitris and Ioannis Coustas. Reports in the international shipping press suggest that the company is on the doorstep of the New York Stock Exchange, although no public-listing application has been submitted yet.
Danaos is developing a program of constructing six new container ships, with a capacity of 1,700 to 8,500 containers, while its existing fleet includes 26 container ships. During the last month, there have been some attempts to charter the new ships, four of which will be delivered in 2008; the other two are expected from Samsung shipyards in 2009.
Source: www.ekthimerini.com, Date: 6-20-2006, NIKOS ROUSSANOGLOU


Maritime industry heads for choppy waters
After years of having a tarnished image as an open registry, last month the Cyprus flag made it to the top echelons of the Paris Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), finally being put on the prestigious white list, signifying a dramatic reduction in detention rates.
On top of that, EU membership coupled with hard work by the Shipping Department and those involved in the industry over the past ten years, resulted in a huge number of substandard ships being struck off.
Although this meant a substantial drop in the registry, once fourth in the world, it was done in the name of quality. Only the Turkish ban remains as a serious disadvantage.
Despite the improvements however, the industry has been strangely unsuccessful in attracting new ships to the flag over the past two years.
The reports coincidentally appeared on the eve of a conference by a group called the Cyprus Union of Shipowners (CUS), which holds around one fifth of the tonnage on the Cyprus flag.
The CUS, formed within the last two years, represents the owners of Cypriot-flagged ships outside of the island who are pushing hard for the creation of the new chamber.
Industry insiders say the CUS set itself up separately from the pre-existing Cyprus Shipping Council (CSC), which represents the resident shipping industry on the island, including shipowners owners and shipmanagement companies that operate out of the island.
During its conference, CUS president Charalambos Mylonas said the Turkish ban could not be entirely blamed for the fall off from the registry, and he was openly critical of the delay in forming the chamber.
However the Shipping Department, ostensibly referring to the news reports rather than the CUS conference, questioned the reliability of the information concerning Malta.
In a written statement it said that figures from Lloyds List showed clearly that both Cyprus and Malta lost out in their move to clean up their respective flags.
It said that while Cyprus fell from 6th place in 2000 to 9th place in 2004, Malta had dropped four places from 4th to 8th in the same period.
But it looks as if it may not all be plain sailing.
The Cyprus Shipping Council (CSC), which was established in 1989, is concerned that the proposed chamber would end up as a quasi-government body, which could slow down the industry at a time when it needs to be dynamic.
Source: http://www.cyprus-mail.com, 25 June, By Jean Christou


'Summer slump is cancelled'
---Major dry-bulk charterers have begun asking for long-term fixtures of up to three years. Bulker owners tell TradeWinds this means rates have hit bottom and started up.
Several sources confirm to TradeWinds that big-name charterers such as Cargill, Rio Tinto and BHP began asking for such deals about three weeks ago. This means the charterers expect rates to rise at least medium-term and feel a need to lock in favourable terms, key bulker owners say jubilantly but off the record.
One resolute handymax owner is said to have turned down a three-year deal for a 52,000-dwt ship at $19,000 per day.
However, not all owners agree that the rejected deal would have been a bad one.
Georgakis himself has heard of no such offers.
Other owners telling TradeWinds about the offers, which began to surface three weeks ago, are unwilling to be cited by name.
The bullish remarks by several market players came after a panel discussion at the New York conference yesterday.
Speakers at the Marine Money panel on yield-oriented bulker owners including chief executive officers Aristides Pittas of EuroSeas and Stamatis Molaris of Quintana, chief financial officers Alan Ginsberg of Eagle Bulk and John Wobensmith of Genco Shipping & Trading and moderator Simon Smith, managing director of UBS Investment Bank.
Later on, a panel on growth-oriented publicly-listed bulker or dry-cargo owners included chief executive officers Joseph Royce of TBS International, George Gourdomichalis of FreeSeas and Christopher Georgakis of Excel Maritime Carriers plus chief financial officer Christopher Thomas of DryShips along with moderator Andrian Dacy of JP Morgan Securities.
By Bob Rust in New York, published: 06:28 GMT, 22 June 2006 | last updated: 13:59 GMT, 22 June 2006
Source: www.tradewinds.no


Impact of strike still evident, but Piraeus is on the way back
---International users of Piraeus port facilities have expressed satisfaction at the improvements being made to productivity and the reduction in waiting time, though the port is still struggling to recover traffic lost during the month-long June 2005 strike by port workers.
Both these key improvements are being attributed to the 'appointment system' for ships calling at the port which came into operation in April.
The 'appointment system' was introduced at the request of regular clients of the port, indeed, China's shipping giant Cosco, demanded it.
Piraeus Port Authority (PPA), md Nicos Anastassopoulos said "all users are pleased" with the system and with the decision to reduce tariffs on transit cargoes. Anastassopoulos said that in an effort to further improve the port's service, letters have been sent to regular port users seeking information about call schedules for each of the next six months. He believes the success of the programme will see more liner companies chose Piraeus as a regular call.
Anastassopoulos said it has taken Piraeus 12 months to recover from the dockers strike in June, 2005, especially in the container terminal. Movements in the terminal over the first four months of 2006 were down 48,000 on the same four months in 2005, though the port's main client MSC retained its 2005 level in 2006. The PPA md said, some of the companies which were forced to go elsewhere during the strike have "found satisfaction and now have to be re-won". However, it seems this battle is being won, with Anastassopoulos reporting that "movements in May were up to the level of May 2005", mainly because "of the success for the appointment system".
Anastassopoulos expects Piraeus to "boom in 2008 when the extension of Dock 1 in the container terminal will be completed, adding 600,000teu to the terminal's capacity". At the sametime, he notes the rail link between the port and the national network will be completed.
-- Filed: 2006-22-06
Source: www.newsfront.gr


NEL Lines re-engines ferry as breakdowns disrupt services
---Aegean operator refits fast ferries as claim against engine maker continues, writes Michael Grey- Thursday June 22 2006
NEL Lines is exasperated by its inability to operate any sort of reliable service with its three fast monohull ferries.
All three Corsaire class fast ferries, with which the Maritime Company of Lesvos NEL Lines hoped to revolutionise ferry transport in the western Aegean, were built in France by Alstom Leroux Naval.
The first vessel, Aeolos Express, a Corsaire type 12000 monohull 119 m in length, was delivered in 2000 and propelled by four SEMT Pielstick 20PA6B.STC diesels driving waterjets, providing a service speed of 36 knots.
In July 2001, a second smaller Corsaire 10000 at 103 m, the Aeolos Express II, with three similar engines, was delivered, followed a month later by the Aeolis Kenteris, a 40 knot Corsaire 14000 ferry propelled by two of the same SEMT Pielstick engines along with two gas turbines.
NEL Lines claims the nine diesel engines supplied to the three ships have consistently given trouble since delivery, almost continuously requiring the services of teams from the engine builders.
NEL Lines says that it faces financial penalties from the authorities in the case of cancelled or late sailings.
NEL Lines is in the process of replacing the two Pielsick engines in the Aeolos Kenteris in a shipyard in Palermo. The company hopes this ship, at least, will be restored to commercial operation during the current season. The other two vessels remain in layup.
The most significant modifications have required 180 modified cylinder liners with the same number of modified piston crowns and fuel injector nozzles, while 216 upgraded camshaft drive gear coupling bolts have been installed.
Seven of the nine main engines suffered major cracking of the timing gear casing, after machining had taken place to prevent repeated fretting and slackening on the timing gear.
Modifications were required to all 18 of the main engine-attached sea water and fresh water pumps. A major modification or redesign by the engine manufacturer was undertaken, which included 18 new design camshaft drive gears.
Other major repairs have required the replacement of the cylinder block to No 1 engine of Aeolos Express after major cracking was discovered.
The owner is concerned that with the ships scheduled to operate for only 2,500 hours a season, it will take between three and four years before they can be considered fully classed without reservation, even if there is no further trouble.
Currently, with the Aeolos Kenterisbeing re-engined, the Aeolos Express has residual cracks on two of its four engines, while the Aeolos Express II experienced further trouble when owners attempted recently to fire up engines to put the ship into drydock; the newly installed and redesigned fuel oil booster pump drive gear also failed on one engine.
Commenting on the present situation, Pierre Bousseau of SEMT Pielstick pointed out that the decision to re-engine the biggest ship is that of the owner and that the engine manufacturer is confident the engine can meet all demands on it.
From his point of view, said Mr Bousseau, the engines can meet demands and the engine manufacturer will demonstrate its capacity to make the machinery work.
Meanwhile, legal action against the engine manufacturer, which was begun last year in France, is continuing, with NEL Lines claiming substantial compensation for damage to reputation and costs of replacement ships to operate the services.
Source: www.lloydslist.com


Hyundai Leads Korean Duel With China for Greek Shipping Riches
---June 5 (Bloomberg) -- Hyundai Heavy Industries, the world's largest shipbuilder, will head South Korea's biggest-ever shipping delegation to Greece this week as the Asian country vies with China for a slice of the $20 billion in new-vessel orders that may be made this year.
As many as 200 South Koreans are among the 16,000 people from up to 80 countries attending the five-day Posidonia 2006 event in Athens starting today, according to the Korean Shipbuilding Association. China's shipbuilding association has also boosted its presence by half compared with last year, according to the event Web site.
Competition between South Korea, the world's largest shipbuilding nation, and China, is intensifying as tanker- operators from Frontline Ltd., the world's biggest, to Athens- based Dynacom Tankers Management expand fleets to meet rising demand. Greek owners, who account for about 12 percent of the world's 2,700 tankers, have committed to spend about $5 million in 2006, according to Athens-based shipbrokers George Moundreas & Co.
``There is a lot of money around at the moment and owners are always looking to see where there's better value for money,'' said Ted Petropoulos, head of Petrofin SA in Athens, a publisher of Greek shipping-industry data. ``A lot of people are looking at when to buy and what to buy.''
Hyundai, based in Ulsan, South Korea, and peers such as Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co. and Samsung Heavy Industries Co., face the challenge of trying to convince buyers to purchase ships that are as much as 25 percent more expensive than Chinese vessels.
Cutting Costs
``For sure, Chinese yards are cheaper than the Korean yards,'' said Rikard Vabo, equity analyst for Fearnley Fonds in Oslo. ``When the Koreans are maybe at $125 million to $130 million, you are able to place an order for $106 million in China.'' A call made today to Hyundai wasn't answered.
Cutting costs has become paramount for the biggest operators of supertankers, known as very large crude carriers, or VLCCs, because earnings have fallen this year as the world fleet of ships grew, pushing down freight rates. Hamilton, Bermuda-based Frontline said profit in the first quarter declined 20 percent to $219.1 million as fuel costs rose and freight rates fell.
Chinese yards can charge up to $20 million less for the construction of the biggest VLCCs, which haul 2 million-barrel cargoes of oil on routes from the Middle East and West Africa around the world. The drawback, for some customers, is that their seaworthiness hasn't been tested.
``There is still uncertainty about whether these yards will be able to deliver,'' Vabo said. The $106 million is also an ``introductory offer'' he said, adding that Chinese yards aim to charge similar prices to South Korean competitors.
$83,931 a Day
This year, a 2 million-barrel tanker shuttling between the Middle East and the U.S. Gulf typically earned its owner an average $47,483 a day, based on data compiled by Bloomberg, the Baltic Exchange in London, and Oslo-based R.S Platou Shipbrokers AS. During the boom year of 2004, the same voyage would have earned $83,931 a day, 84 percent more than in 2003, when daily earnings were $45,404 a day.
The fleet of ships that can haul commodities has increased since 2004, in part because of surging Chinese demand for the raw materials needed to sustain its booming economy. Gross domestic product in the world's most-populous nation grew 10.3 percent in the first quarter of this year.
There were 786 tankers on order in May for delivery by 2009, equivalent to 28.5 percent of the world's existing fleet, according to London-based Drewry Shipping Consultants Ltd.
Declines `Across the Board'
Analysts at shipbrokers including E.A. Gibson Shipbrokers Ltd., Galbraiths Ltd., Simpson Spence & Young Ltd., and Drewry predict rates will fall until at least 2009.
``We do see rates falling across the board,'' says Steve Christy, head of research for E.A. Gibson in London. ``We see a bounce back in rates subsequently, but it is hard to pinpoint when that will happen. We think it will be somewhere between 2009 and 2011.''
Rates for VLCCs may drop as much as 54 percent in two years, according to Drewry.
It's not a view shared in Greece.
``It's like crying wolf,'' says Petrofin's Petroploulos. ``So many houses have come in with forecasts of doom and gloom and the market has done the opposite. I think they will be very embarrassed.''
The size of any rebound will depend on how strictly the International Maritime Organization, the United Nations' shipping agency, enforces the scrapping of tankers that are over 20 years of age and have only a single layer of steel separating their cargoes from the ocean.
``Japan have said that they will trade single-hulls,'' after 2010. ``But the big oil producers will start using only double-hulls.''
Source: http://www.bloomberg.com


Global Oceanic AGM rejects re-election to board of CEO and chairman
---UPDATE (Adding details of appointments, shareholder changes)
LONDON (AFX) - Global Oceanic Carriers LTD said shareholders at the AGM held in Jersey Tuesday did not pass resolutions to re-elect to the board chief executive Vassilis Vintiadis, non-executive chairman Konstantinos Dimitriou and non-executive director Carlos Campbell.
The AIM-listed Greece-based dry bulk shipping company said the developments follow the recent major change of shareholders in the company and recent appointments to the board.
GOC in late May said two funds of Trafalgar Asset Managers had acquired shares representing 34.3 pct of its issued share capital.
Then earlier this month the shipping company announced the appointment of three new non-executive directors which it said were known to Trafalgar Asset Managers and to Argo Capital Investors, which owns 10.58 pct of GOC.
The new board members were identified as Nicolas Antoine Pappadakis, Michail Tartsinis and Antonios Nikolaou to the Board as Non-Executive Directors with immediate effect. Tartsinis is also a director of International Trading Inc, which owns 14.57 pct of GOC.
Source: Life Style Extra, UK, http://www.lse.co.uk, Thursday, 22nd June 2006 11:09


Greek shipping tycoon set to rescue sinking PAOK
---ATHENS, June 20 (Reuters) - Greek shipowner Yiannis Kambanis is set to complete his buyout of PAOK Salonika on Thursday.
"The time has come for me to unwind following years spent at sea and, more generally, in shipping," the 60-year-old told the local media.
"On a personal level I am satisfied by fame and money and would like to tell all PAOK fans and players that things are changing."
No financial details were available. The news comes less than a week after PAOK, who finished sixth in the league, were excluded from next season's UEFA Cup for financial irregularities.
One of Kambanis's first tasks will be to persuade two players, Dimitris Salpingidis and Ifeani Udeze, to drop legal action against the club for unpaid wages.
Kambanis has asked for patience from PAOK fans who are notoriously impatient for success for their club which operates in the shadow of the big Athens clubs.
"Don't ask for league and cup triumphs from the very first year. All will come with patience once we build a team," he said.
"PAOK is a life's gamble for me and I would like to tell fans that they will certainly love me for it."
Source: http://today.reuters.co.uk/news, Tue Jun 20, 2006 1:39 PM BST, By Barney Spender