In the last edition I mentioned that the seven year old containership India Rickmers was to be broken up. At the time this was the youngest vessel to go for scrap, However, the 40,521gt Hammonia Grenada which is nine months younger has now been sold for demolition.
An increase in the worldwide price of steel has meant that more vessels are finding their way to the breakers yards. Lloyds have reported that scrap rates in India have risen by 30% since the early part of the year and in China they have doubled. Rising rates are likely to provide owners with more incentives to send their ships to breakers in the coming months, with freight earnings still low due to overcapacity.
Clarksons has said it expected 700,000 teu to be recycled for the whole of 2016, having recorded 173 ships with nearly 600,000 teu during January-November. The age of containerships sent for demolition is also falling fast. The average age of containerships scrapped in 2016 was a mere 18 years, while in 2015 the average age was 24 years.
Bulk carriers fared better and according to Clarksons, 28.8 million dwt of bulk carriers have been recycled in 2016. On an annualised basis, this year’s demolished volume will be 4% lower than the 2015 level. While more panamax and handymax vessels were sent to scrapyards this year, less capesize and handysize tonnage was recycled, data from Clarksons showed. However, as with containerships, the age of the bulkers being broken up has dropped dramatically. Lloyd’s List Intelligence data showed this year’s average age of scrapped fleet is 24, compared to 26 in 2015, 30 in 2014, 31 in 2013 and 32 in 2012.
Tanker earnings have been quite stable in 2016. Clarksons recorded 2.6 million dwt of tankers sold for breaking this year. This amount of tonnage and the previous year’s, are still much lower than 7.8 million dwt in 2014 and 11 million dwt in 2013.
On another note, it was with great sorrow that I learned of the collapse of the All Leisure Group and in particular the iconic brand of Swan Hellenic who operate the much-loved Minerva. The Swan Hellenic brand has always enjoyed amazing loyalty by passengers since its inception in 1954. The company was acquired by P & O in 1983, who in turn were taken over by the Carnival Corporation in 2003. A oneship operation had no place in the giant Carnival fleet so they discontinued the brand in 2007. However, thanks to an heroic rescue act by former P & O Chairman Lord Sterling, the brand survived.
Let us hope that another White Knight appears and that this very British brand continues.