‘Shipshape 10’ News for Week Ending December 25, 2016

‘Shipshape 10 List’, a list of news and articles published in the current week that a senior executive in shipping, shipping finance, commodities, energy, supply chain and infrastructure should had noticed; news and articles that are shaping the agenda and the course of the maritime industry.

Sometimes seemingly tangential, sometimes humorous, occasionally sarcastic, but always insightful and topical.

And, this week’s ‘Shipshape 10’:                                                                                                         
Heading to the Holiday Season, market activity has been slowing down as would expect. Still several news stories to report reflecting the year’s tumultuous course for the shipping industry. This week’s top news:

Two Maersk-owned offshore assets (‘Maersk Shipper’ and ‘Maersk Searcher’) while under tow by yet another Maersk-owned anchor-handling tug support vessel, AHTS ‘Maersk Battler’, sank off the French coast while en route to Turkey to be demolished. The newsworthiness of the story is not in the shipwreck itself – towing vessels in the open sea is a very complicated exercise and is reflected to the insurance premiums to underwrite the tow, ask us – but in the fact that terrible accidents happen even under mighty Maersk’s watch, even when only Maersk vessels and personnel are involved:

1. Maersk Supply Services vessel pair sink en route to scrapyard (from Splash 24/7)

On the shipping finance front, rather surprising news that RBS has reportedly agreed to sell $600 mil in shipping loans to a syndicate of buyers; the shipping finance team of Reuters in London and Frankfurt once again ‘scooped’ the story; and once again, the shipping trade press was left behind and ‘copying and pasting’ the story:

2. RBS near to selling $600 million of shipping loans: sources (from Reuters)

The fact that shipping banks are leaving the industry, there seem to be an opportunity for alternative financing; two encouraging developments in this front this week:

3. Northern Shipping smashes third fund target (from Splash 24/7)

And after almost three years of efforts:

4. Maritime & Merchant Bank launches (from Splash 24/7)

Still on the same front of credit provided by alternative sources of capital, Bloomberg run a great story this week:

5. The $12 Trillion Credit Risk Juggle (from Bloomberg)

Taking a look on purely shipping companies and events, the Rickmers Trust moved another step closer to liquidation:

6. Rickmers Maritime bondholders vote against restructuring, liquidation looms (from Seatrade Maritime News)

While another 30-year ship-manager / shipowner closed the doors at the insistence of their main credit, the ING bank:

7. ‘That’s it, Flinter is no longer’: Dutch line dissolves (from Splash 24/7)

And Hanjin selling their stake in the Long Beach Terminal (TTI), following their recent bankruptcy:

8. Hanjin to Sell Stake in U.S. Terminal to Mediterranean Shipping (from the Wall Street Journal)

On more hopeful news, the Dow Jones Industrial Index (DJII) almost reached the major milestone of 20,000 points following the rocket-trajectory after the Trump election; some doubts still hover about the nature of the rally (‘faith-based rally), but again, if we learned anything from shipping in 2016 is that rallies, any type of rallies, are better than declines:

9. A Faith-Based Rally? Warning Lights Are Flashing – Before Anyone Gets Too Euphoric About Dow 20,000 (from Barron’s)

And, taking a quick look in 2017, commodities seem to provide a promising place to invest; which, by association, is positive news for shipping:

10. 2017: Time to Buy Commodities (from Barron’s)                                                                     
Merry Christmas, and a most joyous Happy Holiday Season!


A bright light! Image credit: Karatzas Images

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