Currently, investors and banks do not have a predictable residual value of the vessel after x years of service. This residual value is heavily influenced by the specifications of the ship, its age, the steel market and availability (as there are only a limited number of ships on the market, excess supply or shortage is a relatively frequent occurrence).
This means that investors are reluctant to finance new vessels. Loan conditions are quite firm, requiring a substantial equity deposit by the operator and having a relatively short term. In contrast, operators frequently have little equity and are looking at an operational return in the medium or long term.
The emergence of a fleet of 500 interchangeable, comparable vessels will be a game changer. Residual value will become predictable so that the buying, selling and leasing of vessels will become easier. This will enable operators to adapt their commercial offers to the time frame of the shippers’ RFQs. It will also attract a different type of investor: those who see inland shipping as a financial opportunity, without actually getting involved in the shipping operations.
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