State-owned shipping giant China COSCO is so large that it occasionally makes sense for its subsidiaries to sell their unwanted tonnage to each other. Citing the state of the dry-bulk market and the need for scale in the segment, COSCO’s Singapore-based logistics unit agreed this week to sell its small dry bulk business to COSCO’s main dry bulk line. 

For $42 million in shares, COSCO Shipping International (Singapore) Co. has sold a 60 percent stake in its dry bulk subsidiary COSCO Shipping (Singapore) Pte. Ltd. to buyer COSCO (H.K.) Shipping Co., Limited, a division of COSCO Shipping Bulk Co., Ltd.

Before and after the transaction, the buyer, seller and assets all belong to China COSCO SHIPPING Corporation Limited, the world’s largest shipping company. COSCO is itself owned by the Chinese state, the world’s largest shipowning and shipbuilding entity. 

COSCO (Singapore) says that it wants to streamline its structure to focus on its core logistics business. According to the company, the prospects of the bulk shipping industry do not look promising for the coming years. Its small bulk division has limited marketing capabilities and lacks competitiveness, having only three ships with an average age of about 16 years, the firm said. 

“Looking ahead, dry bulk rates and prices are expected to remain firm over the next few months and then falling back and remaining relatively flat over the coming years,” said COSCO (Singapore) in September.

While dry bulk shipping is complementary to COSCO (Singapore)’s business, the firm says that this segment requires resources and scale – the kind of scale that COSCO Shipping Bulk Co., Ltd. has in spades. COSCO’s dry bulk goliath has over 400 bulkers with a total deadweight of about 40 million tonnes. 

Source: The Maritime Executive