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Uni-Asia looks to enlarge fleet of jointly owned bulk carriers

Uni-Asia looks to enlarge fleet of jointly owned bulk carriers
Alternative investment firm Uni-Asia Holdings is looking to further enlarge its fleet of dry bulk carriers via joint investments, adding on to the current joint investment portfolio fleet of five ships.

Among the portfolio of five jointly invested ships, two newly-built 57,000 dwt bulkers were delivered to Uni-Asia Shipping in January and October this year respectively.

A further three ships of 37,000-37,6000 dwt are scheduled to be delivered between the second quarter of 2016 to the first half of 2019. The charters for the three ships are yet to be fixed.

Uni-Asia Shipping, the shipowning arm of the group, owns 18% share of the ships and will commercially manage the ships on a long term basis.

Michio Tanamoto, executive director of Uni-Asia, told Seatrade Maritime News that there is a plan to increase its fleet of joint investment ships by another three units.

Uni-Asia Shipping itself owns eight bulk carriers with capacity ranging from 28,300-37,000 dwt, and is slated to welcome a ninth unit of 37,000 dwt in the first quarter of 2016.

“Out of the nine owned vessels, six have secured five to seven years of charter and three are under short term charter, giving us revenue visibility in the long run,” Tanamoto said.

Combining the self-owned bulkers and the five jointly invested ships, Uni Asia Shipping’s total fleet will stand at 14.

During the third quarter ended 30 Septmber 2015, the group achieved higher charter income of $8.65m, representing a surge of 76% compared to $4.92m posted in the same period of 2014.

Masaki Fukumori, coo of Uni-Asia, said that despite the current poor dry bulk shipping market due mainly to an oversupply of ships, the market is expected to find balance by end-2018 with more existing ships going to the scrapyard and reduced number of newbuilding orders.

Fukumori added that charterers are also looking to charter more fuel efficient and environmentally-friendly vessels, and owners with a younger fleet through timely fleet renewal would be in a better position to secure charters.