U-Ming Transport eyes fleet renewal
Taiwaniese shipping line U-Ming Transport said it does not rule out the possibility of placing new orders for vessels this year as the price for newbuildings falls.
U-Ming Transport assistant vice-president Stephen Chen told Lloyd"s List that the company had not placed any new orders since the middle of 2008 because of the unfavourable market conditions.
However, the company would consider acquiring new vessels given that the price of newbuildings has dropped by as much as 50% compared with prices two years ago. Current prices were reasonable, he said.
U-Ming Transport owns a fleet of 33 vessels with a total carrying capacity of 3.6m dwt and aims to double its fleet size in three years.
The company has cash reserves of more than $700m, some of which could be used to finance vessel acquisition. Ship types such as capesize, kamsarmax and supramax bulk carriers would come under the company"s radar, he said.
He refused to give any indication the number of new vessels the company would take delivery of this year. Previously the Taiwanese company had pushed back deliveries of two 58,000 dwt supramax vessels ordered at a China"s state-owned shipyards and originally earmarked for delivery in 2010 and 2011.
Mr Chen said the formation of an oil shipping venture between U-Ming Transport, Taiwan"s Chinese Transport and the Taiwan government-owned petrochemical company PCP was still awaiting regulatory approval and was unlikely to build new ships before the end of the year.
The joint venture, which is 24%-owned by U-Ming Transport, plans to build up a 35-vessel fleet of 300,000 dwt very large crude carriers over the next few years.
Mr Chen remained cautious on the market outlook this year in anticipation of soaring fuel prices and excessive tonnage.
U-Ming Transport posted revenues of $T332m ($10.4m) in January and February this year, up 46% compared with $T227.2m in the corresponding period in 2009.