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IPFS News Link • Business/ Commerce

Battle Of The Shipping Booms: Containers '21 Vs Dry Bulk '07-'08

•, By Greg Miller

"While dry bulk freight rates and ship values are currently high compared to the past 10 years, they are very far from earnings seen during 2007-2008 and there is little to suggest that they are heading that way," maintained Peter Sand, chief shipping analyst at shipping association BIMCO, in a report last week. Sand said bulker owners "should acknowledge that this is unlikely to be the start of a super-cycle."

The Baltic Dry Index (BDI), a rate basket covering the various bulker sizes, recently breached 4,000 points for the first time since 2009. It closed at 4,201 on Tuesday. But the all-time high is 11,793 — nearly triple the current level — recorded on May 20, 2008.

The Baltic Capesize Index, which tracks larger bulkers of about 180,000 deadweight tons (DWT), just topped 6,000 points for the first time since 2009. It closed at 6,206 on Tuesday. But that's still nowhere near the historic peak of 19,687 on June 5, 2008.

American Shipper has an archive of financial analyst reports on public dry bulk companies dating all the way back to the earlier boom. These historical client notes offer a window on just how extreme the market was; analysts at the time commented nonchalantly on rates that would seem unbelievable today.

On Tuesday, Capesize spot rates were at the equivalent of $51,500 per day, according to Clarksons Platou Securities. For context, in June 2008, rates were reportedly 4.5 times that, briefly hitting $233,000 a day, according to a client note from investment bank Dahlman Rose (the bank was sold to Cowen in 2013). At that time, a 5-year old Capesize sold for $150 million; they go for $44 million today (excerpts from Dahlman Rose Marine Transport Weekly: June 9, 2008 here).