Latest major developments in shipping finance

E. Cihan Akca

Istanbul University, Institute of Marine Science and Management, Department of Maritime Management, Vefa 34116 Istanbul, TURKEY


The ship finance is no more a fixed science than is any other sort of finance. Financial terms, conditions, banks and shipowners become ever more sophisticated. Because shipping is a highly capital intensive industry, with its 32,000 world- wide companies is one of the three most finance intensive industries in the world, about 80 billion dollars per year for financing new buildings alone. The financing of large ocean-going ships are undertaken by banks all over the world, by no means just for owners in their own country. This is so as banks are willing to finance, during boom periods, shipping loans for new buildings but by this way ‘create’ oversupply and thus depress the freight market by their own actions. Therefore, ship values can change by up to 65 percent in a few months. A five year old Panamax bulk carrier, for example, could be purchased for US$ 13.5m and achieve freight rates of US$ 5,500 per day in 1999 while a similar profile vessel was worth US$ 46m and achieved freight rates in excess of US$ 46.000 per day in 2005. For this reason, the shipowner can make, or lose millions of dollars and so can his bankers if things go badly wrong. For these reasons, the principle subject of this study is to examine a significant increase in alternative capital sources in recent years. Debt and equity from the public markets, German KG systems and Islamic finance, can all now be regarded as commonplace in the shipping finance market.

Keywords: Shipping Finance, liberalisation, kommanditgesellschaft, mergers, acquisitions

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