A STRING of containership owners have abandoned newbuilding orders over the last few months that were placed when prices were high to reduce exposure to an uncertain market.
Although some of the cancellations were due to problems at shipyards, such as an order for one 3,500-TEU ship at Rongcheng Shenfei that the Shipping Corporation of India (SCI) cancelled in September after the Chinese yard fell behind on delivery.
SCI also has three 6,500-TEU ships on order at STX Dalian, whose deliveries have also fallen behind schedule after the Chinese yard failed to secure a new owner following the bankruptcy of the STX Group last year, reports Alphaliner.
At least one of the 15 ships of 1,900-6,500-TEU on order at STX Dalian has been cancelled by owners after failing to meet delivery dates, and the fate of SCI's remaining orders remain unclear.
Paragon Shipping, managed by Athens-based Allseas Marine, cancelled in December one of two 4,777-TEU wide beam container vessels ordered in March 2011 from China's Zhejiang Ouhua Shipbuilding.
The company now has only one ship on order slated for delivery in the second quarter of this year, for which the contract price has been lowered from the original US$57.5 million to $55 million.
In January, Ship Finance International Ltd (SFIL) walked away from taking delivery of the first of four 4,800-TEU wide-beam overpanamax container ships ordered from China's Shanghai Shipyard in April 2011, with the backing of a seven-year charter to Hamburg Sud.
The ship, due to be delivered one year behind schedule, has since been bought by Hamburg Sud for $44 million, a bargain compared to the $57.5 million agreed by SFIL in 2011.
The three sister vessels, which have incurred similar delays, are now gone, and have been bought recently by Hamburg Sud at a reported cut price of $41 million.
Also in January, Greek owner Thenamaris reduced its exposure to the container shipping sector by getting rid of the Seaviolet and Seavelvet, two 4,896 TEU wide beam containerships ordered in March 2011 from China's Zhejiang Ouhua Shipbuilding.
The Seaviolet has been renamed Sapphire and taken over by a Hong Kong-based affiliate of the shipyard, Sapphire Shipping. The ship has been fixed to Maersk Line who is deploying her on its Far East-India (CHX) service. The ex Seavelvet, due for delivery in March, is thought to be unfixed.
Thenamaris is now left with only two 5,071 TEU, 2013-built, wide beam container vessels in its fleet, and both are on charter to Maersk Line.
Source : HKSG.