Aysel YÜCEL / TRAVEL BOOK
Investments in ships by Turkish shipowners accelerated with the Russia-Ukraine war. The shipowners, who expanded their fleet in 2021 for the first time in 8 years, have tankers and freighters on their radar this year. According to the report by Allied Shipping Research, in the first seven months of this year, Turkish shipowners are in the buyer position on 34 of the 1,120 ships whose buyers are known. With these vessel purchases, domestic investors ranked 5th after their Greek, Chinese, Singaporean and Swiss competitors. Turkish shipowners have also been on the agenda of the foreign press with their aggressive investments in ships in the recent period.
The container crisis that emerged with the pandemic also mobilized Turkish shipowners. During this period, shipowners, who achieved record profitability with an almost 10-fold increase in global ocean freight, accelerated their investments in ships. According to the Turkish Maritime Transport Review Report, which was also published on the Turkish Shipowners Association website last week, the tonnage of Turkish-owned ships over 1000 GT, which was 28 million 929 thousand DWT in January 2021, increased to 30 million 680 thousand DWT in January 2022. reached . Thus, the Turkish-owned fleet began the period of ‘re-ascension’.
“There is a lot of movement, we work until midnight”
Meltem Süloğlu, partner at Pelikan Shipping, one of Turkey’s leading brokers, emphasized that Turkish shipowners have been very active in purchasing ships recently and said: “There is extreme movement, we work until midnight every day. In general, Turkish shipowners are in the purchase. They mainly buy tankers, dry cargo and LPG. Easy access to money for financing also affects this. We use money from foreign funds,” he said.
Arkas Holding enters the dry bulk market
The latest ship investment news came from Arkas Holding earlier this week. Arkas, one of Turkey’s leading container ship owners, has entered the dry cargo market with its new vessel investment. Arkas, one of the strongest groups in short-sea container shipping in the Mediterranean, named the supramax vessel Nicolaos A, which it bought from a Greek shipowner, the Zeynep C. Greek sources suggested the vessel sold for approximately $14 million. .
Bekmezci family expands its fleet of tankers
The Bekmezci Family, one of the main investors in the textile industry, is growing with new investments in the tanker market, which it entered last year. The Bekmezci family bought the 40,000 DWT tanker Seaexplorer owned by a Greek shipowner and added it to their fleet. The Bekmezci Family is said to have paid approximately $9 million for the vessel built in 2003. The company had purchased another tanker from the Greek shipowner last week. The Bekmezci family, which owns dry cargo vessels within the group’s affiliate Beks Denizcilik, entered the tanker market in 2021 with an old vessel purchased from a Greek shipowner. The group, which also makes investments in dry cargo, is approaching 20 ships in its fleet.
Container ship purchases also draw attention
Investments in locally owned container ships are also noteworthy. Medkon, Akkon, Turkon are among the investors. Mahmut Işık, General Manager of Medkon, which recently added 4 ships to its fleet, said: “We anticipate that the expected recession in the economy will occur, but it will not last long. So we don’t think the maritime industry will face a crisis like it did in 2008. We think the demands will be intense as cargo handling and waiting for ships continues and there isn’t a lot of new construction, especially on feeder tonnage ships.”
“Russian oil in disgrace increased investment in oil tankers”
Navis management consulting manager and S&P broker Engin Koçak stated that there are three main reasons why Turkish shipowners are active in vessel purchases during this period. Koçak listed these reasons as follows:
1- The Turkish shipowner warms up to a large tonnage with the money he has earned in the last two years and increases his investments in handysize/supramax or never more than 20,000 DWT.
2- ‘Is it a tonnage slowdown or a recession in 2023?’ there is a discussion. I’m of the opinion that some downturns will balance out the recession and freight rates won’t go down much. Those who are of this opinion or even more optimistic are active and aggressive on the buying side. But the tonnages they receive are usually beautiful ships with Tier II machines, built after 2011, at economic expense. Sellers are on the pessimistic side, but activity on both sides creates a market. I consider these purchases/sales as a strategic positioning and I think it shows that the Turkish shipowner is approaching the logic of the big players.
3- It is necessary to evaluate the side of the tank separately. Here, there are very serious revenue increases in suezmax, aframax and MR tonnage compared to last year. Although a recession was expected, trade changed cyclically. When Russian oil fell out of use, trade routes also changed and this was in favor of the tanker’s owner. Anyone who sees this and feels that this situation will last for a long time, turns to oil tankers and diversifies their investments.
professor Dr. Erhan Aslanoğlu: “I think these long-term investments are right”
Professor at Piri Reis University Prof. Dr. Erhan Aslanoğlu stated that Turkey’s prominence in the supply chain with the pandemic and the subsequent Russia-Ukraine war has increased interest in Turkish ports and the Turkish logistics sector, and that Turkish shipowners are also preparing for this shift in world trade. . Stating that he thought it was right for Turkish shipowners to invest in this period, Aslanoğlu said: “Because I think the Turkish industry has shown its ability to sell compared to many of its competitors in the EU, regardless of the exchange rate. This is really a competitive power regardless of currency or something. Global giants now prefer closer geographies over China. It stands out in this period in Turkey. Far Eastern companies may also have new investments here. For this reason, the possibility of a permanent tendency for Turkey to become a logistics hub increases. Yes, there is a prospect of recession. I don’t expect a very severe recession. Also, the recession will be of different severity across the world. The EU is a little different, but I think a very different positive period will soon begin. Therefore, these investments are made within the framework of long-term plans.” Aslanoğlu also said that the EU’s green transformation has accelerated shipowners’ investments in environmentally friendly ships.