Bulk shipping company adds first of 12 new vessels from China to its fleet

By Amy Su  /  Staff reporter

Thu, Oct 31, 2013 - Page 14

U-Ming Marine Transport Corp (裕民航運), a bulk shipper and member of the Far Eastern Group (遠東集團), took delivery yesterday of a vessel built by Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding Co (上海外高橋造船) to cater for the expected rebound in demand this quarter.

The capesize vessel — with a capacity of 206,000 long deadweight tonnage and christened M.V. Cape Stars — is the third to be delivered from the total of 12 vessels U-Ming Marine has ordered from the largest shipbuilding company in China.

“The global economy has been recovering gradually, with demand and freight rates on the bulk industry showing some improvement,” U-Ming Marine said in a statement.

Taking delivery of new vessels at this point will help upgrade its fleet and embrace the pick-up for the industry, the statement said.

The company has decommissioned five old vessels and welcomed eight new ones since last year, as part of a program to lower fuel costs and improve its competitiveness.

Before the end of 2016, U-Ming Marine will receive delivery of another 13 new vessels, which will help lower the average age of the company’s ships to under 10 years.

In addition, global demand for iron ore, coal, grain and cement — the major materials carried by bulk vessels — have showed some improvement on the back of strong demand in China this quarter, U-Ming Marine said in the statement.

The company therefore expects a better year for the bulk industry next year, citing improving supply-and-demand conditions and strong demand for bulk materials for infrastructure development in emerging countries.

As of the end of last month, the number of new vessels sold showed a 53 percent decline from the same period last year, an indication that the oversupply issue affecting shipping has slowed, the statement added.

U-Ming Marine posted NT$437.76 million (US$14.85 million), or NT$0.51 per share, in consolidated net income in the first half of this year, down from NT$1.07 billion, or NT$1.24 per share, a year earlier, company data showed.

From January to last month, consolidated sales totaled NT$5.15 billion, declining by 18.09 percent from a year ago, data said.

The company shares closed at NT$49.85 yesterday, a 1.42 percent gain in Taipei trading.