Greek shipowner newbuilding appetite continues with $1.4bn contracted in 2018

The appetite for newbuildings is evident as we move into 2018, with Greek owners continuing to building on an impressive $4.7bn investment in projects in 2017.

Indeed, over the turn of the year projects involving some 25 vessels surfaced involving a diversified range of ships costing their eight contracting principals over $1.4bn. And just for the record Greek shipping companies invested a confirmed $4.7bn in the acquisition of used oceangoing vessels in 2017.

Spending spree was confirmed when Clarkson Research ranked Greek shipping top in transactions and among the biggest investors in new ships, with total investment exceeding $9.3bn for almost 400 vessels.

The new year dawned with orders revealed for LNG carriers, VLCCs, suezmax tankers, product tankers and kamsarmax bulk carriers featuring the latest in technology. Contracts for gas carriers and kamsarmax bulker led the way.

TMS Cardiff Gas has contracted one 174,000 cu m LNG vessel with WinGD's X-DF low pressure dual-fuel propulsion technology at South Korea's Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI). There is an option for a second vessel, with some saying there is a second option, in a deal which could run to $500m. The contract follows the Christos Economou-led company being selected as a preferred bidder for two seven-year time charters from Total. Economou said: “We look forward to providing them with first-class LNG shipping services as they continue to expand their LNG activities.”

Peter G Livanos-backed, GasLog has contracted one 180,000 cu m LNG carrier with X-DF propulsion technology. Booked at Korea's Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) the ship will be ready for delivery in third quarter 2019. It is costing an unconfirmed $197m, with GasLog ceo, Paul Wogan, saying "the vessel has been secured at a very attractive cost and will be equipped with the latest propulsion and cargo containment technology". This order lifts to five LNGs now on order for GasLog, three at SHI and two at HHI.

Evangelos Pistiolis’ Central Shipping group has taken up two suezmax tanker newbuilding berths at HHI with options for two more. The ships are expected to be built at Hyundai Samho Heavy Industries, and cost around $60m each, with the firm ships set for mid-2019.

Dino Caroussis-led Chios Navigation reportedly ordered a 50,000 dwt MR product tanker at Hyundai Mipo Dockyard just prior to Christmas. The Tier II tanker is due for delivery first half of 2019 and is reportedly costing around $33m.

Harry Vafias-led StealthGas is meanwhile being linked to an order for a pair of 80,000 cu m VLGC newbuildings at HHI. Reportedly due for delivery in 2019, the pair, costing around $70m each, are said to be booked on the back of a long term charter to trading house Trafigura.

These orders come on top of a number of orders involving Greek interests that came to light in the latter part of December. Embiricos-controlled Aeolos Management booked a 318,000 dwt Imo Tier III VLCC at Korea's Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME) for delivery in 2020, costing around $84m.

Enesel / NS Lemos contracted a fourth 320,000dwt VLCC at HHI, with delivery from July 2018 through to September 2019. The Tier III VLCCs are reportedly costing just over $80m each.

Lavinia Bulk / Laskaridis booked three 81,500 dwt kamsarmax bulkers plus an option at China's Penglai Zhongbai Jinglu, a deal worth about $100m.

It has also emerged that Alpha Bulkers has turned to China for kamsarmaxes with an order for four 81,800 dwt units at Jiangsu New Yangzi Shipbuilding, delivery in 2018. They are reportedly costing between $24.2m and $24.7m each. It's reported two of the ships will be Tier II and two Tier III, with two flagged in the Marshall Islands and two under the Greek colours.

Posted 17 January 2018

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David Glass

Greece Correspondent, Seatrade Maritime