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Market buzzes in expectation of ULCS building spree

Japanese banks Yamiguchi Financial Group and Ehime Bank have established a joint venture called the West Seto Partnership Agreement (WSPA), with the aim of funding ultra large container ship (ULCS) building in the country, according to Athens-based broker Allied Shipping.

The news of Japan’s two consolidation move in ship finance comes on the cusp of what a number of brokers and consultants believe is a new ULCS building spree, which has the effect of cascading vessels mainly from the Asia to Europe trades, but also the Pacific and into trades with smaller volumes.

Sale and purchase of these post-Panamax vessels has shown a marked increase as a result of demand for these vessels.

London based shipbroker Braemar is also reporting that “activity remained fairly high even in the final week before the extended Lunar New Year”. Braemar reports that Hyundai Confidence (5,700-TEU, built 2003, Hyundai Heavy Industries) has been sold to London-based buyers on private terms.

The broker also reports that the Korean operator SM Line is attracting interest in its fleet of one 8,500, two 6,500 and two 5,500TEU vessels.

“Two of the vessels workable on a relatively prompt basis and two with forward deliveries, it will be interesting to see what effect the said delivery schedules have on the individual prices,” added Braemar.

The Feeder sector remains subdued with relatively little buying interest although we expect activity to pick up post new year holidays. The Gisele A (2,764-TEU, geared, built 2004 Gdynia Shipyard) has been reported as sold to UAE-based operators, again on private terms.

Nick Savvides,
Managing Editor

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