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Review on the freight market in the 4th Quarter 15-02-2016

In this topic we give you some more insight on the chartering results of our fleet. Now – at the beginning of 2016 - we look back on the results of the last quarter of 2015. In this topic we look back on the past quarter on the basis of three regular subjects: development freight revenues, input from the commercial manager and figures & facts.

Development freight revenues

Throughout the last year, we have observed that the recovery of the freight market – although in a slow pace - had a more ‘permanent’ character. In the last quarter of 2015 our core segment in which we operate (multi-purpose vessels up to 10,000 tonnes), realized a substantial increase compared to the  fourth quarter of the previous year. We look at the results of three types of vessels: 5400 dwt, 7800 dwt and 7800 dwt (geared). Compared to the year 2014 all three types of vessels realized a growth of the daily revenue.

During the last quarter of 2015, the 7800 dwt vessels (with and without cranes) noted a small decline in the freight revenues compared to the first three quarters of 2015. On the other hand, the 5400 dwt vessels have managed to achieve an increase. A surplus of tonnage in the spot market has had a negative effect on the freight revenues of the 7800 dwt vessels in the last quarter of 2015. Due to a higher quota of contracts a decrease could be prevented. 

Input from our commercial manager
For years we have been using the services of our charterer MTL from Duisburg. Because of their long
standing relationships with reputable cargo parties we have, relatively speaking, been able to limit 
the damage in the crisis period. Through weekly updates MTL informs us about the ups and downs in
the freight market. Some salient passages from the mentioned updates can be found below:
 
‘Even the market shows several of cargoes, we unfortunately had to notice that freight stick at a quite low level’ (week 41)
 
‘No changes for the spot market. Freight rates remained at similar levels to last done and we predict rates to stay relatively unchanged for the next week’ (week 43)
 
‘No changes to report as vessels are covered with cement cargoes with one of our COA partners. Due to the import stop during previous weeks, the demand from shippers and receivers’ side to move the produced cargo is quite high’ (week 44)
 
‘December started and unluckily we cannot provide positive news about the market developments. A couple of known cargoes are recurring, but freights tend to show a negative or steady trend rather than an improvement. All the better that vessels can perform COA stems instead of being dependent on poor freight rates’ (week 49)
 
‘Most vessels are employed at least till beginning of next year. Although we can notice several market cargoes to be shipped still in 2015, the rates are still not showing an upwards trend ‘thanks’ to the available spot tonnage. So we are not unhappy to perform pretty huge number of contract cargoes’ (week 51) 
 
Facts & Figures
To conclude this retrospective we show some numbers below. The figures show the change (in %) compared to the year 2014 as well as compared to the same period last year.
 
If we compare the cumulative daily revenue of 2015 to the figures of a year earlier (daily revenue 2014) then the 5400 tonnes vessels show an increase of 4%. The daily revenue of 7800 tonnes without cranes has increased by 4,5% and the 7800 tonnes with cranes recorded a rise of 9,5%. 
 
Compared to the fourth quarter of 2014 the 5400 tonnes vessels achieved an increase of 13%, the 7800 dwt tonnes vessels without cranes managed to achieve an increase of 9,6% and the 7800 tonners with cranes noted an increase of 7% compared to the last quarter of 2014. 
 
Overall, it can be seen that the year 2015 has given a further continuation of the ongoing recovery.  However, reality shows that the current daily revenues are still not sufficient to meet all financial obligations. For the current year our commercial manager takes into account a further increase of the daily revenues. Unfortunately a difficult first month has initially led to a backlog on this expectation. The daily revenues in January 2016 were below the level of last year due to bad conditions in the spot market. Mainly the 5400 tonnes vessels became the victim due to their huge dependence on the spot market. 
 
All vessels in the above mentioned classes are operating on voyage chartering and are therefore not chartered for a longer period at a fixed income (time charter). Through a combination of contracts of affreightment and cargo on the spot market we aim for an optimal occupancy and thus a continuous revenue stream. The 5400 tonnes vessels are for 15% active on cargo contracts (contracts of affreightment), the remaining 85% of the time the vessels are operating in the spot market. For the 7800 tonnes vessels 60% of the time is filled with cargo contracts and thereby there is a limited dependency (40%) of the spot market.