Buying and Selling Ship at the right time

Spot charter rates should be a factor of minor significance in the decision of buying or selling a ship. Buying a ship is a long term investment and implies a long term commitment to the project horizon of 5 to 15 years.

An investor who is financially ready to support a long term shipping project should not pay too much attention to current freight levels. Conservative Japanese shipowners, who usually commit ships on extremely long time charter contracts, make use of hedging instruments for bunker pricing and future payments and follow a strict strategy with regard to their fleet utilization and renewals.

On the other hand, Greek shipowners like to keep their options open and love the spot market. In recent decades, Greek shipowners have mastered the concept of tramp shipping in most segments. Most Greek shipowners do not set a specific, predetermined horizon on the lifetime of their projects but instead react to the spot market levels and follow their intuition.

Shipowning is an extremely risky business due to the volatile market. Furthermore, in the shipping business it is crucial to invest at the right time. It is not a smart move to buy a modern capesize bulk carrier at the peak levels of the shipping market. But, it would be smarter to invest in shipping at the bottom of the market.