SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
REGISTRATION STATEMENT PURSUANT TO SECTION 12(b) OR 12(g) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2022
TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the transition period from _____ to _______
SHELL COMPANY REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
Commission file number: 001-38440
Grindrod Shipping Holdings Ltd.
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
(Translation of the registrant’s name into English)
(Jurisdiction of incorporation or organization)
(Address of principal executive offices)
(Name, Telephone, E-mail and/or Facsimile number and Address of Company Contact Person)
Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP
Securities registered or to be registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act.
Title of Each Class
Name of Each Exchange on Which Registered
|Ordinary shares, no par value
||NASDAQ Global Select Market
Securities registered or to be registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act:
Securities for which there is a reporting obligation pursuant to Section 15(d) of the Act:
Indicate the number of outstanding shares of each of the issuer’s classes of capital or common stock as of the close of the period covered by the annual report: 18,484,861 ordinary shares (excluding treasury shares)
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act:
If this report is an annual or transition report, indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.
Note-Checking the box above will not relieve any registrant required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 from their obligations under those Sections.
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files).
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, or a non-accelerated filer, or an emerging growth company. See definitions of “large accelerated filer”, “accelerated filer”, and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act. (Check one):
|Large accelerated filer
|Emerging growth company
If an emerging growth company that prepares its financial statements in accordance with U.S. GAAP, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards
provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act.
||The term “new or revised financial accounting standard” refers to any update issued by the Financial Accounting Standards Board to its Accounting Standards Codification after April 5, 2012.
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report.
If securities are registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act, indicate by check mark whether the financial statements of the registrant included in the filing reflect the correction of an error to previously issued financial statements
Indicate by check mark whether any of those error corrections are restatements that required a recovery analysis of incentive-based compensation received by any of the registrant’s executive officers during the relevant recovery period pursuant to §240.10D-1(b).
Indicate by check mark which basis of accounting the registrant has used to prepare the financial statements included in this filing:
International Financial Reporting Standards as issued
by the International Accounting Standards Board
If “Other” has been checked in response to the previous question, indicate by check mark which financial statement item the registrant has elected to follow.
If this is an annual report, indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act).
Risks Related to Our Industry
Global economic conditions, in particular in China and the rest of the Asia-Pacific region, could negatively affect the markets in which we operate which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, cash flows, results of operations and ability to obtain financing.
The world economy is currently facing a number of challenges, including the COVID-19 pandemic and recent turmoil and hostilities in various regions, including Ukraine, Russia, Azerbaijan, North Korea, Myanmar, the Middle East, including Iran, Iraq, Syria, the Persian Gulf, Yemen, North Africa and the Gulf of Guinea. Drybulk demand is directly linked to the global macroeconomic landscape and there has historically been a strong link between the development of the world economy and demand for energy, including iron ore, coal and other commodities. An extended period of deterioration in the outlook for the world economy could reduce the overall demand for iron ore, coal and other commodities and for our services. Continuing economic instability could have a material adverse effect on our ability to implement our business strategy.
The United States, Europe and other parts of the world are likely to see gross domestic product (“GDP”) grow at a slower rate than in prior years. The credit markets in the United States and Europe have experienced significant contraction, deleveraging and reduced liquidity in 2008 and again in 2020, and the United States federal and state governments and European authorities have implemented and/or are considering a broad variety of governmental action and/or new regulation of the financial markets and may implement additional regulations in the future. Securities and futures markets and the credit markets are subject to comprehensive statutes, regulations and other requirements. The Securities and Exchange Commission, or the SEC, other regulators, self-regulatory organizations and exchanges are authorized to take extraordinary actions in the event of market emergencies, and may effect changes in law or interpretations of existing laws.
Economic slowdown in the Asia Pacific region, particularly in China, may exacerbate the effect on us, as we anticipate a significant number of the port calls made by our vessels and those of our competitors will continue to involve the loading or discharging of drybulk commodities such as iron ore and coal in ports in the Asia Pacific region. Before the global financial crisis that began in 2008, China had one of the world’s fastest growing economies in terms of GDP, which had a significant impact on shipping demand. Real growth rate continues to remain below pre-2008 levels and any improvement in the global economy in 2023 will depend on China’s recovery. As China is responsible for 53% of the world’s crude steel output and 74% of seaborne iron ore imports, the current crisis in China has a significant impact on our drybulk trade. The weaker Chinese economy in 2022 aggravated by the zero tolerance policy on COVID-19 outbreaks and an unstable property market led to lower oil and commodity prices and also had a moderating impact on global inflationary forces. To the extent the growth of the Chinese economy slows as a result of changes in political, economic or social conditions or developments in government policies (including. in particular, around economic growth, urbanization or infrastructure spending), the level of imports to and exports from China could be adversely affected, negatively impacting demand for drybulk shipping. It is possible that China and other countries in the Asia Pacific region will continue to experience slowed or even negative economic growth in the future. Moreover, economic slowdown in the economies of the United States, Europe and other Asian countries may further adversely affect economic growth in China and elsewhere. Our business, financial condition, cash flows and results of operations, as well as our future prospects, will likely be materially and adversely affected by a further economic downturn in any of these countries or geographic regions.
Global financial markets and economic conditions have been and continue to be volatile. Credit markets and the debt and equity capital markets have been distressed and the uncertainty surrounding the future of the global credit markets has resulted in reduced access to credit worldwide. Rising interest rates in the United States, Eurozone and other regions may also negatively impact global economic growth, demand for our drybulk shipping services and our cost of capital. These issues, along with significant write-offs in the financial services sector, the re-pricing of credit risk and the current weak economic conditions, have made, and will likely continue to make, it challenging to obtain additional financing. In addition, the current state of global financial markets and current economic conditions might adversely impact our ability to issue additional equity at prices which will not be dilutive to our existing shareholders or preclude us from issuing equity at all.
Also, as a result of concerns about the stability of financial markets due to supply disruptions, rising energy prices, the increase in the inflation and the solvency of counterparties specifically, the cost of obtaining money from the credit markets has increased. We cannot be certain that financing will be available to the extent required to implement our business strategy, or that we will be able to refinance our credit facilities in due course, on acceptable terms or at all. If financing or refinancing is not available when needed, or is available only on unfavorable terms, we may be unable to meet our obligations as they become due or we may be unable to enhance our existing business, acquire newbuildings and additional vessels or otherwise take advantage of business opportunities as they arise.
We face risks attendant to changes in economic environments, changes in interest rates, and instability in the banking and securities markets around the world, among other factors. Major market disruptions and adverse changes in market conditions and regulatory climate in the United States and worldwide may adversely affect our business or affect our ability to borrow amounts under credit facilities or any future financial arrangements. The recent and developing economic and governmental factors, together with possible further declines in charter rates and vessel values, could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, cash flows and results of operations.
These global economic conditions have in the past and may continue to have in the future a number of adverse consequences for drybulk and other shipping sectors, including, among other things:
|•||low charter rates, particularly for vessels employed on short-term time charters or in the spot market;|
|•||decreases in the market value of drybulk carriers and limited second-hand market for the sale of vessels;|
|•||limited financing for vessels;|
|•||widespread loan covenant defaults; and|
|•||declaration of bankruptcy by certain vessel operators, vessel owners, shipyards and charterers.|
The occurrence of one or more of these events could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, cash flows and results of operations.
Outbreaks of epidemic and pandemic diseases, and governmental responses thereto, could adversely affect our business. The COVID-19 pandemic, and measures to contain its spread, have impacted the markets in which we operate and could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, cash flows and results of operations.
The COVID-19 pandemic, and measures to contain its spread, continues to negatively impact regional and global economies and trade patterns in markets in which we operate, the way we operate our business, and the businesses of our customers and suppliers. Governments in affected countries have implemented measures in an effort to contain the virus including travel restrictions, quarantines and other emergency public health measures and a number of countries implemented lockdown measures. Companies, including us, took precautions, such as requiring employees to work remotely, and imposing travel restrictions. These restrictions have had an adverse impact on global economic conditions, have resulted in a decline in demand for certain of the raw materials that our vessels transport, and have introduced new risks to our operations, some of which may not yet have become evident to us. As a result of these measures, our vessels may not be able to call on ports, or may be restricted from departing from ports, and the duration of voyages may increase in order to accommodate mandatory minimum periods between port calls which could increase our costs and delay the due date for payment of freight to us. In addition we may experience severe operational disruptions and delays, unavailability of normal port infrastructure and services including limited access to equipment, critical goods and personnel, closure of ports and customs offices, inability to renew or maintain the required classifications of our vessels, difficulty in executing vessel purchases or sales, potential decreases in the market values of vessels and related impairment charges, disruptions to crew change, quarantine of ships and/or crew, counterparty credit strength, limitations on sources of cash and liquidity, noncompliance with covenants in our credit facilities and financing lease obligations, as well as disruptions in the supply chain and industrial production which may lead to reduced cargo supply and/or the demand for such cargo and thus to a decline in the demand for our services, among other potential consequences.
Ongoing prevention and mitigation measures, and negative economic and trade impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak could materially and adversely affect our future operations, our business, financial condition and cash flows. The extent of the COVID-19 outbreak’s effect on our operational and financial performance will depend on future developments, including the duration, spread and intensity of the outbreak, the emergence of new variants, the development, availability, distribution and effectiveness of vaccines and treatments, the imposition of protective public safety measures and the impact on the global economy, all of which are uncertain and difficult to predict considering the rapidly evolving situation. As a result, the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our business will depend on numerous evolving factors we cannot reliably predict, which impact could be material and adverse.
Charter rates and spot markets for drybulk carriers are volatile and may decrease in the future, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, cash flows and results of operations.
The drybulk shipping industry is cyclical with high volatility in charter rates and profitability. The degree of charter rate volatility among different types of drybulk carriers has varied widely; however, a downturn in the drybulk charter market will severely affect the entire drybulk shipping industry and charter rates for drybulk carriers will decline significantly. In the past, time charter and voyage charter rates for drybulk carriers have declined below operating costs of vessels. The Baltic Dry Index, or the BDI, an index of daily average of charter rates for key drybulk routes published by the Baltic Exchange Limited, which has long been viewed as the main benchmark to monitor the movements of the drybulk vessel charter market and the performance of the entire drybulk shipping market, declined approximately 97.5% from its high of 11,793 in May 2008 to 290 on February 10, 2016 and has remained volatile since then. During the year ended December 31, 2022, the BDI started on 2,285 and finished 34% lower on 1,515 points. It achieved a peak of 3,369 on May 23, 2022 and a trough of 965 on August 31, 2022, representing a 70% spread between high and low.
Fluctuations in charter rates result from changes in the supply of and demand for vessel capacity and changes in the supply of and demand for the major drybulk commodities carried by water internationally. Because the factors affecting the supply of and demand for vessels are outside of our control and are unpredictable, the nature, timing, direction and degree of changes in industry conditions are also unpredictable. Since we currently employ our vessels primarily in the spot market or spot market-oriented pools and do not have a significant amount of fixed revenue cover, we are exposed to the cyclicality and volatility of the spot market. Spot rates may fluctuate significantly based upon the supply of and demand for seaborne shipping capacity, and we may employ our vessels in these short-term markets at lower rates. Alternatively, charter rates available in the spot market may be insufficient to enable our vessels to operate profitably. A significant decrease in charter rates would adversely affect asset values and our profitability, cash flows and ability to pay dividends, if any, in the future, on our ordinary shares, and capital and interest on our indebtedness. Furthermore, a significant decrease in charter rates would cause asset values to decline and we may have to record an impairment charge in our financial statements which could adversely affect our financial results.
Factors that influence demand for drybulk carrier capacity include:
|•||supply of and demand for energy resources, commodities, consumer and industrial products;|
|•||changes in the exploration or production of energy resources, commodities, consumer and industrial products;|
|•||the location of regional and global production and manufacturing facilities;|
|•||the location of consuming regions for energy resources, commodities, consumer and industrial products;|
|•||the globalization of production and manufacturing;|
|•||global and regional economic and political conditions, including armed conflicts and terrorist activities, embargoes, tariffs and strikes;|
|•||disruptions and developments in international trade including additional trade tariffs imposed;|
|•||economic slowdowns caused by public health events such as the COVID-19 pandemic;|
|•||the cost of steel and labor;|
|•||the cost and availability of financing;|
|•||changes in seaborne and other transportation patterns, including the distance cargo is transported by sea;|
|•||environmental and other regulatory developments;|
|•||competition from alternative sources of energy;|
|•||international sanctions, embargoes, import and export restrictions, nationalizations and wars;|
|•||currency exchange rates; and|
|•||weather, natural disasters and other catastrophic events may disrupt drybulk trading patterns.|
Factors that influence the supply of drybulk carrier capacity include:
|•||the number of newbuilding orders and deliveries, including slippage in deliveries;|
|•||the number of shipyards and ability of shipyards to deliver vessels;|
|•||port or canal congestion;|
|•||the scrapping rate of older vessels;|
|•||environmental concerns and regulations;|
|•||changes in international regulations that may result in the reduced carrying capacity of vessels or early obsolescence of tonnage;|
|•||speed of vessel operation;|
|•||the number of vessels that are out of service, namely those that are laid-up, drydocked, awaiting repairs or otherwise not available for hire.|
In addition to the prevailing and anticipated charter rates, factors that affect the rate of newbuilding, scrapping and laying-up include newbuilding prices, secondhand vessel values in relation to newbuilding and scrap prices, costs of bunkers and other operating costs, costs associated with classification society surveys, normal maintenance and insurance coverage costs, the efficiency and age profile of the existing drybulk fleet in the market and government and industry regulation of maritime transportation practices, particularly environmental protection laws and regulations. These and other factors influencing the supply of and demand for shipping capacity are outside of our control, and we may not be able to correctly assess the nature, timing and degree of changes in industry conditions.
We anticipate that the future demand for our drybulk carriers will be dependent upon economic growth in the world’s economies, mainly China and India, seasonal and regional changes in demand, changes in the capacity of the global drybulk fleet and the sources and supply of drybulk cargo to be transported by sea. Adverse economic, political, social or other developments could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, cash flows and results of operations.
The fair market values of our drybulk carriers are volatile and may decline in the future, which could limit the amount of funds that we can borrow, cause us to breach certain financial covenants in our credit facilities, or result in an impairment charge, and we may incur a loss if we sell a vessel following a decline in its market value.
The fair market values of our drybulk carriers have been very volatile and may continue to fluctuate depending on a number of factors, including:
|•||prevailing levels of charter rates;|
|•||the duration and impact of COVID-19;|
|•||general economic and market conditions affecting the shipping industry;|
|•||competition from varying types and sizes of vessels;|
|•||the supply of and demand for vessels;|
|•||other modes of transportation;|
|•||the cost of newbuildings;|
|•||governmental and other regulations;|
|•||the need to upgrade vessels as a result of charterer requirements, technological advances in vessel design or equipment or otherwise;|
|•||competition from other shipping companies.|
If the fair market values of our vessels decline, the amount of funds we may draw down under our credit facilities may be limited and we may not be in compliance with certain covenants contained in our credit facilities, which may result in an event of default. In such circumstances, we may not be able to refinance our debt or obtain additional financing. If we are not able to comply with the covenants in our credit facilities, and are unable to remedy the relevant breach, our lenders could accelerate our debt and foreclose on the mortgaged vessels in our Fleet. In addition, if we sell one or more of our vessels at a time when vessel prices have fallen, the sale may be less than the vessel’s carrying value on our financial statements, resulting in a loss on sale and a reduction in earnings, which could be material. See “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects—Liquidity and Capital Resources”.
Conversely, if vessel values are elevated at a time when we wish to acquire additional vessels, the cost of such acquisitions may increase and this could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, cash flows and results of operations.
Inflation could continue to adversely affect our business and financial results.
Inflation could continue to adversely affect our business and financial results by increasing the costs of labor and materials needed to operate our business. During the year ended December 31, 2022, we have experienced increased costs for crew, spares and stores, which trend we currently expect to continue into 2023. Depending on developments in the drybulk industry and other economic conditions, we may be unable to raise our charter rates enough to offset the increasing costs of our operations, which would decrease our profit margins. Inflation may also raise our costs of capital and decrease our purchasing power, making it more difficult to maintain sufficient funds to operate our business.
An inability to effectively time investments in and divestments of vessels could prevent the implementation of our business strategy and negatively impact our business, financial condition, cash flows and results of operations.
In order to maintain a young fleet, we are required to replace older vessels with newer ones over time. In order to do so, we intend to grow our Fleet by entering into long-term chartering and newbuildings contracts, making acquisitions and disposals in the resale and second-hand markets and exercising purchase options in certain of our long-term charter contracts. Our business is greatly influenced by long-term chartering contracts, the timing of investments and/or divestments, the exercise of our purchase options to acquire vessels and contracting of newbuildings. As of the date of this annual report, we have purchase options to acquire four vessels that we time charter. For a discussion of the terms of these purchase options, see “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects—Liquidity and Capital Resources—Overview”. If we are unable to identify the optimal timing of such investments, of the exercise of our purchase options, of divestments or of contracting of newbuildings in relation to the shipping value cycle or unable to execute at the optimal timing due to capital constraints or other reasons, this could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, cash flows and results of operations.
Drybulk carrier values have generally experienced high volatility. Investors can expect the fair market value of our vessels to fluctuate, depending on general economic and market conditions affecting the drybulk industries and competition from other shipping companies, types and sizes of vessels and other modes of transportation. In addition, as vessels age, they generally decline in value. These factors will affect the value of our vessels for purposes of covenant compliance under the credit facilities and at the time of any vessel sale. If for any reason we sell a vessel at a time when vessel prices have fallen, the sale may be at less than such vessel’s carrying amount on our financial statements, with the result that we could also incur a material loss on the sale and a reduction in earnings and reserves. The carrying values of our vessels may not represent their fair market value at any point in time. At the end of each reporting period and on a continuous basis, if indicators of impairment are present, the carrying amount of tangible and intangible assets is assessed to determine whether there is any indication that those assets may have suffered an impairment loss. We also assess the carrying value of an asset when we have contracted to divest of the asset for any reason, including the age of our vessels, if a joint venture that owns vessels comes to an end in accordance with its terms or if the asset no longer fits into our strategic planning. See “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects—Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates”.
An over-supply of drybulk carrier capacity may lead in the future to a reduction or depression in drybulk carrier charter rates, as has happened in the past, and lead to a reduction in the value of our vessels, which may limit our ability to operate our drybulk carriers profitably.
The market supply of drybulk carriers has increased significantly since the beginning of 2005. As of February 2023, newbuilding orders, which extend to 2025 and beyond, had been placed for approximately 7.5% of the existing global drybulk fleet capacity for handysize drybulk vessels and 7.7% of the existing global drybulk fleet capacity for supramax/ultramax drybulk vessels. There has been a relatively slower pace of both newbuild deliveries and demolition over the last decade due to uncertainty over fuelling technology. Drybulk carrier supply growth has in previous years outpaced drybulk carrier demand growth, causing downward pressure on drybulk charter rates. If the capacity of new drybulk carriers delivered exceeds the capacity of drybulk carriers being scrapped, drybulk capacity will increase. Until the new supply is fully absorbed by the market, drybulk charter rates may continue to be under pressure in the near to medium term and this could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, cash flows and results of operations.
We operate in the highly competitive international shipping industry and we may not be able to compete for charters and contracts of affreightment, or COAs, with new entrants or established companies with greater resources, and, as a result, we may be unable to employ our vessels profitably.
Our vessels are employed in a highly competitive market that is capital intensive and highly fragmented. The competition in the market is based primarily on supply and demand and we compete for charters and COAs on the basis of price, vessel location, size, age, the condition of the vessel, our and our third-party commercial managers’ reputations, and the acceptability of the vessel and its technical managers and operators to the charterers.
We compete primarily with other independent and state-owned drybulk vessel-owners. Our competitors may have more resources than us and may operate vessels that are newer, and therefore more attractive to charterers, than our vessels. Ownership and control of drybulk carriers is highly fragmented and is divided among a large number of players including publicly listed and privately owned shipping companies, mining companies, commodity trading houses, private equity and other investment funds and state-controlled owners. Due in part to the highly fragmented markets in which we operate, competitors with greater resources could enter the drybulk shipping industries and operate larger fleets through consolidations or acquisitions and may be able to offer lower charter rates and higher quality vessels than we are able to offer. If we are unable to successfully compete with other drybulk shipping companies, our competitors may be able to offer better prices than us, which could result in our achieving lower revenue from our vessels and our business, financial condition, cash flows and results of operations could be materially adversely affected.
Our drybulk shipping charter rates and spot rates will be subject to seasonal and cyclical fluctuations, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, cash flows and results of operations.
We operate our drybulk carriers in markets that have historically exhibited seasonal variations in demand and, as a result, in charter rates. This seasonality may result in volatility in our operating results to the extent that we enter into new charter agreements or renew existing agreements during a time when charter rates are weaker or we operate our vessels in the spot market or on index-based time charters or have index-based COAs, which may result in quarter-to-quarter volatility in our operating results.
The drybulk sector is typically stronger in the northern hemisphere fall and winter months in anticipation of increased consumption of coal and other raw materials in the northern hemisphere. The celebration of Chinese New Year in the first quarter of each year, usually results in lower volumes of seaborne trade into China during this period. In addition, unpredictable weather patterns tend to disrupt vessel routing and scheduling as well as the supply of certain commodities.
We are subject to complex laws and regulations, including environmental and safety regulations that can adversely affect the cost, manner or feasibility of doing business.
Our operations are subject to numerous international, national, state and local laws, regulations, treaties and conventions in force in international waters and the jurisdictions in which our vessels operate or are registered, which can significantly affect the ownership and operation of our vessels. These laws and regulations include, but are not limited to, the U.S. Oil Pollution Act of 1990, or OPA, the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act, or CERCLA, the U.S. Clean Air Act of 1970, as amended by the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1977 and 1990, or the CAA, the U.S. Clean Water Act, or the CWA, and the U.S. Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002, or the MTSA, and regulations of the UN International Maritime Organization, or IMO, including the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships of 1973, or MARPOL, including the designation of Emission Control Areas, or ECAs, thereunder, the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea of 1974, or SOLAS, the International Convention on Civil Liability for Bunker Oil Pollution Damage of 2001, or BUNKER, the International Convention of Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage of 1969, or CLC, the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code, or the ISPS code, and the International Convention on Load Lines of 1966, or the LL Convention.
Compliance with such laws, regulations and standards, where applicable, may require installation of costly equipment or implementation of operational changes, and the need for such actions may affect the resale value or useful lives of our vessels. These costs could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, cash flows and results of operations, or our ability to offer competitive charter rates. A failure to comply with applicable laws and regulations may result in administrative and civil penalties, criminal sanctions or the suspension or termination of our operations. Because such conventions, laws, and regulations are often revised, we cannot predict the ultimate cost of complying with them or the impact thereof on the fair market values or useful lives of our vessels. Additional conventions, laws and regulations may be adopted which could limit our ability to do business or increase the cost of our doing business and which may materially adversely affect our operations. For example, the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments, or the BWM Convention, adopted by the IMO in February 2004, calls for the phased introduction of mandatory reduction of living organism limits in ballast water over time (as discussed further below). In order to comply with these living organism limits, vessel owners may have to install expensive ballast water treatment systems. The BWM Convention entered into force on September 8, 2017 and while we believe that our vessels have been or will be fitted with systems that will comply with the standards, there can be no assurance that these systems have been or will be approved by the regulatory bodies of every jurisdiction in which we may wish to conduct our business.
Environmental laws often impose strict liability for remediation of spills and releases of oil and hazardous substances, which could subject us to liability without regard to whether we were negligent or at fault. Under OPA, for example, owners, operators and bareboat charterers are jointly and severally strictly liable for the discharge of oil within the 200-mile exclusive economic zone around the United States (unless the spill results solely from, under certain limited circumstances, the act or omission of a third party, an act of God or an act of war). An oil spill could result in significant liability, including fines, penalties, criminal liability and remediation costs for natural resource damages under other international and U.S. federal, state and local laws, as well as third-party damages, including punitive damages, and could harm our reputation with current or potential charterers of our drybulk carriers.
We are required by various governmental and quasi-governmental agencies to obtain certain permits, licenses, and certificates with respect to our operations, and satisfy insurance and financial responsibility requirements for potential oil (including marine fuel) spills and other pollution incidents. Although we have insurance to cover certain environmental risks, there can be no assurance that such insurance will be sufficient to cover all such risks or that any claims will not have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, cash flows, or results of operations. See “Item 4. Information on the Company—Business Overview—Environmental and Other Regulations”.
Climate change and greenhouse gas restrictions may adversely affect our operating results.
An increasing concern for, and focus on, climate change has promoted extensive existing and proposed international, national and local regulations intended to reduce greenhouse gas, or
. These regulatory measures may include, among others, adoption of cap and trade regimes, carbon taxes, increased efficiency standards and incentives or mandates for renewable energy. Any passage of climate control legislation or other regulatory initiatives by the IMO, the European Union, the United States or other countries where we operate, or any treaty adopted at the international level, that restrict emissions of GHG could require us to make significant financial expenditures that we cannot predict with certainty at this time. Compliance with such regulations and our efforts to participate in reducing GHG emissions will likely increase our compliance costs, require significant capital expenditures to reduce vessel emissions and require changes to our business. Even in the absence of climate control legislation and regulations, our business and operations may be materially affected to the extent that climate change results in sea level changes or more intense weather events. See “Item 4. Information on the Company—Business Overview—Environmental and Other Regulations”.
Adverse effects upon the oil and gas industry relating to climate change, including growing public concern about the environmental impact of climate change, may also adversely affect demand for our services. For example, increased regulation of GHGs or other concerns relating to climate change may reduce the demand for coal in the future or create greater incentives for use of alternative energy sources. Therefore, any long-term material adverse effect on the coal industry could have a material adverse effect on our future performance, results of operations, cash flows and financial position.
Our growth depends on continued growth in demand for commodities including iron ore and coal and the continued demand for seaborne transportation of such cargoes. A shift in consumer demand towards other energy sources or changes to trade patterns for these commodities could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, cash flows and results of operations.
A significant portion of our earnings are related, directly or indirectly, to the global demand for commodities including iron ore and coal. A shift in the consumer demand from these commodities towards other energy resources such as liquefied natural gas, wind energy, solar energy, or water energy will potentially affect the demand for our drybulk carriers. This could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, cash flows and results of operations.
In addition, our growth depends on continued growth in world and regional demand for commodities and the transportation of such cargoes by sea, which could be negatively affected by a number of factors, including:
|•||technology developments and their effect on factors such as cost, alternative or substitute products, alternative methods of production and the location of production;|
|•||the economic and financial developments globally, including actual and projected global economic growth;|
|•||fluctuations in the actual or projected price of crude oil, refined petroleum products or other bulk liquids;|
|•||refining capacity and its geographical location;|
|•||increases in the production of oil or natural gas in areas linked by pipelines to consuming areas, the extension of existing, or the development of new, pipeline systems in markets we may serve, or the conversion of existing non-oil pipelines to oil pipelines in those markets;|
|•||decreases in the consumption of oil or natural gas due to increases in its price relative to other energy sources, and other factors making consumption of oil or natural gas less attractive or energy conservation measures;|
|•||availability of new, alternative energy sources; and|
|•||negative or deteriorating global or regional economic or political conditions, particularly in oil-consuming regions, which could reduce energy consumption or its growth.|
Seaborne trading and distribution patterns are primarily influenced by the relative advantage of the various sources and locations of production, locations of consumption, pricing differentials and seasonality. Changes to the trade patterns of commodities such as iron ore or coal may have a significant negative or positive impact on our revenue. This could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, cash flows and results of operations.
The refining and chemical industries may respond to any economic downturn and demand weakness by reducing operating rates, partially or completely closing refineries and plants and by reducing or cancelling certain investment expansion plans, including plans for additional refining capacity, in the case of the refining industry. Continued reduced demand for refined petroleum products and other bulk liquids and the shipping of such cargoes or the increased availability of pipelines used to transport refined petroleum products and bulk liquid chemicals would have a material adverse effect on our future growth and could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, cash flows and results of operations.
If we cannot meet our customers’ quality and compliance requirements we may not be able to operate our vessels profitably which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, cash flows and results of operations.
Customers have a high and increasing focus on quality and compliance standards with their suppliers across the entire value chain, including the shipping and transportation segment. Our continuous compliance with these standards and quality requirements is vital for our operations. Related risks could materialize in multiple ways, including a sudden and unexpected breach in quality and/or compliance concerning one or more vessels, and a continuous decrease in the quality concerning one or more vessels occurring over time. Any noncompliance by us, either suddenly or over a period of time, on one or more vessels, above and beyond what we deliver, could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, cash flows and results of operations.
World events, including terrorist attacks and regional conflict, could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, cash flows and results of operations.
On February 24, 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine leading to what is now a multi-month war and a humanitarian crisis. The impacts of the conflict to date on the drybulk market have included a redirection of cargo flows and higher commodity prices as market participants rush to secure commodities in tighter global markets, particularly for energy and grains, resulting in part from sanctions on various Russian exports. Faced with increased fuel prices, drybulk carriers have also run at slower average vessel speeds to reduce fuel consumption. The U.S., Europe and other countries have imposed unprecedented economic sanctions in response to Russian actions, which could be increased with uncertain effects on the drybulk market and the world economy. In addition, the U.S. and certain other North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) countries have been supplying Ukraine with military aid. The longer-term impact of Russia’s war in Ukraine remains unknown. Russia and Ukraine export significant volumes of coal and grain cargoes. A reduction of these exports as well as the global effect of these reduced supplies may result in lower trade volumes, higher commodity prices, increased inflation, and potential demand destruction. U.S. officials have also warned of the increased possibility of Russian cyberattacks, which could disrupt the operations of businesses involved in the drybulk industry, including ours. As a reaction to higher energy prices, China has chosen to increase domestic coal production to bolster energy security. The scope or intensity of the ongoing military conflict as well as sanctions and other responses to it could increase, potentially having negative effects on the global economy and markets. While Ukraine and Russia reached an agreement to extend an arrangement allowing shipment of grain from Ukrainian ports through a humanitarian corridor in the Black Sea in November 2022, the agreement could be terminated before its expiration date in March 2023, or the agreement may not be renewed, which could result in supply shortages and increased grain prices in the region and globally. Any of these occurrences, or the continuation or worsening of any such occurrences, could have a material adverse impact on our business, results of operation, financial condition, and ability to pay dividends.
Past terrorist attacks, as well as the threat of future terrorist attacks around the world, continue to cause uncertainty in the world’s financial markets and may affect our business, operating results and financial condition. Continuing conflicts and recent developments in Ukraine, Russia, Azerbaijan, North Korea, Myanmar, the Middle East, including Iran, Iraq, Syria, the Persian Gulf, Yemen, North Africa and the Gulf of Guinea, and the presence of the United States or other armed forces in the Middle East, may lead to additional acts of terrorism and armed conflict around the world, which may contribute to further economic instability in the global financial markets. Recently, government leaders have declared that their countries may turn to trade barriers to protect or revive their domestic industries in the face of foreign imports. These uncertainties could also adversely affect our ability to obtain additional financing on terms acceptable to us or at all. War in a country in which a material supplier, including crew supply services, or customer of ours is located could impact that supply to us or our ability to earn revenue from that customer. In the past, political conflicts have also resulted in attacks on vessels, mining of waterways and other efforts to disrupt international shipping, particularly in the Arabian Gulf region. Acts of terrorism and piracy have also affected vessels trading in regions such as the South China Sea, the Gulf of Aden off the coast of Somalia and West Africa. Restrictions on imports, including in the form of tariffs, as discussed further below, have had and could have a major impact on global trade and demand for shipping. Please also refer to “—Outbreaks of epidemic and pandemic diseases, and governmental responses thereto, could adversely affect our business. COVID-19, and measures to contain its spread, have impacted the markets we operate in and could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, cash flows and results of operations.” above. Any of these occurrences could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, cash flows and results of operations.
An increase in trade protectionism and the unraveling of multilateral trade agreements could have a material adverse impact on our charterers’ business and, in turn, could cause a material adverse impact on our results of operations, financial condition and cash flows.
Our operations expose us to the risk that increased trade protectionism will adversely affect our business. Government leaders may determine that their countries may turn to trade barriers to protect or revive their domestic industries in the face of foreign imports, thereby depressing the demand for shipping. The United Kingdom formally left the European Union on January 31, 2020, although a transition period remained in place until December 2020. The Brexit transition period ended in January 2021 and the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement formally entered into force in May 2021. It is still to be seen whether this and other trade agreements will encourage free trade and co-operation in the region over the long term. In the United States, the new administration under President Biden completed Phase One of the trade agreement with China which was primarily based on increased exports from the United States to China in exchange for reduced tariffs. There is still uncertainty about the future relationship between the United States and China as well as other exporting countries in the Asia Pacific region with respect to trade policies, treaties, government regulations and tariffs. Any of these recent and future changes could have a material adverse effect on our future performance, results of operations, cash flows and financial position.
Restrictions on imports, including in the form of tariffs, has had and could continue to have a major impact on global trade and demand for shipping. Specifically, increasing trade protectionism in the markets that our charterers serve may cause an increase in (i) the cost of goods exported from exporting countries such as China and Mexico, (ii) the length of time required to deliver goods from exporting countries, (iii) the costs of such delivery and (iv) risks associated with exporting goods. These factors may result in a decrease in the quantity of goods to be shipped. Protectionist developments, or the perception they may occur, may have a material adverse effect on global economic conditions, and has and may continue to significantly reduce or otherwise impact global trade, including trade between the United States and China. These developments would have an adverse impact on our charterers’ business, operating results and financial condition. This could, in turn, affect our charterers’ ability to make timely charter hire payments to us and impair our ability to renew charters and grow our business. This could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition, as well as our cash flows.
Acts of piracy on ocean-going vessels may have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, cash flows and results of operations.
Acts of piracy have historically affected ocean-going vessels trading in regions of the world such as the South China Sea, the Arabian Sea, the Red Sea, the Indian Ocean, in the Gulf of Aden off the coast of Somalia and the Gulf of Guinea. Sea piracy incidents continue to occur, particularly in the Gulf of Aden off the coast of Somalia, in the Gulf of Guinea and the west coast of Africa, with drybulk carriers vulnerable to such attacks. Acts of piracy may result in death or injury to persons or damage to property. If these piracy attacks result in regions in which our vessels are deployed being characterized as “war risk” zones by insurers or by the Joint War Committee of Lloyds Insurance and IUA Company, or Joint War Committee, as “war and strikes” listed areas, premiums payable for such coverage could increase significantly and such insurance coverage may be more difficult to obtain. In addition, crew costs, including costs of employing on-board security guards, could increase in such circumstances. In some circumstances where one of our vessels is chartered-out or on time charter, the time charterer may have limited liability for charter payments in the event of an act of piracy and may also claim that a vessel seized by pirates is not “on-hire” for a certain number of days and that they are therefore entitled to cancel the charter party, a claim that we would dispute. Voyage charterers do not bear any of the liability relating to acts of piracy except for possible contributions in general average. We may not be adequately insured to cover losses from these incidents, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, cash flows and results of operations. In addition, any hijacking as a result of an act of piracy against our vessels, or an increase in cost, or unavailability, of insurance for our vessels, could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, cash flows and results of operations.
We are subject to international safety regulations and requirements imposed by our classification societies and the failure to comply with these regulations and requirements may subject us to increased liability, may adversely affect our insurance coverage and may result in a denial of access to, or detention in, certain ports.
The operation of our vessels is affected by the requirements set forth in the International Management Code for the Safe Operation of Ships and for Pollution Prevention, or the ISM Code. The ISM Code requires vessel owners, vessel managers and bareboat charterers to develop and maintain an extensive “safety management system” that includes the adoption of a safety and environmental protection policy setting forth instructions and procedures for safe operation of vessels and describing procedures for dealing with emergencies. In addition, vessel classification societies impose significant safety and other requirements on our vessels. The failure of a vessel owner or bareboat charterer to comply with the ISM Code may subject it to increased liability, may invalidate existing insurance or decrease available insurance coverage for the affected vessels and may result in a denial of access to, or detention in, certain ports. Each of our vessels is ISM Code-certified or will be ISM Code-certified when delivered to us. However, if we are subject to increased liability for non-compliance, if our insurance coverage is adversely impacted as a result of non-compliance or if any of our vessels are denied access to, or are detained in, certain ports as a result of non-compliance with the ISM Code, it could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, cash flows and results of operations.
In addition, the hull and machinery of every commercial vessel must be classed by a classification society authorized by its country of registry. The classification society certifies that a vessel is safe and seaworthy in accordance with the applicable rules and regulations of the country of registry of the vessel and SOLAS. The cost of maintaining our vessels’ classifications, or class, may be substantial. If any vessel does not maintain its class or fails any annual, intermediate or special survey, the vessel will be unable to trade between ports and will be unemployable and uninsurable, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, cash flows and results of operations.
Increased inspection procedures and tighter import and export controls could increase costs and disrupt our business.
International shipping is subject to various security and customs inspection and related procedures in countries of origin and destination and trans-shipment points. Inspection procedures may result in the seizure of contents of our vessels, delays in the loading, offloading, trans-shipment or delivery and the levying of customs duties, fines or other penalties against us.
It is possible that changes to inspection procedures could impose additional financial and legal obligations on us. Changes to inspection procedures could also impose additional costs and obligations on our customers and may, in certain cases, render the shipment of certain types of cargo uneconomical or impractical. Any such changes or developments could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, cash flows and results of operations.
Changes in fuel, or bunker, prices may adversely affect our profits.
Fuel, or bunkers, is a significant portion of our expenses when we are responsible for voyage expenses in operating our vessels and changes in the price of fuel may adversely affect our profitability. The price and supply of fuel is unpredictable and fluctuates based on events outside our control, including geopolitical developments, supply of and demand for oil and gas, actions by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, or OPEC, and other oil and gas producers, war and unrest in oil producing countries and regions, regional production patterns and environmental concerns. In February 2022, crude oil prices increased to a new seven year high impacted by the Russia-Ukraine conflict and the sanctions and other measures imposed on Russia by the United Kingdom, European Union, the United States and other countries. In October 2022, OPEC announced that it would be reducing oil production which further increased the global price of oil. Sanctions, trade restrictions and reducing production have increased uncertainty in the global energy markets and fuel may become much more expensive in the future, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, cash flows and results of operations.
On November 22, 2022, the United States Department of the Treasury, announced determinations, pursuant to Executive Order 14071, which would prohibit the provision of trading/commodities broker, financing, shipping, insurance, flagging, and customs brokering services as they relate to the maritime transport of crude oil and petroleum products of Russian Federation origin. The Treasury Department, in coordination with other G7 states, the European, Union, and Australia, authorized the provision of the foregoing services when the price of Russian-origin crude oil does not exceed a certain price, as determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, effectively creating price caps on Russian-origin crude oil and petroleum products. Effective December 5, 2022, the Secretary of the Treasury and other members of the price cap coalition set the price cap on Russian-origin crude oil at $60 per barrel. Effective February 5, 2023, the Secretary of the Treasury set the price cap on Discount to Russian-origin crude petroleum products at $45 per barrel and the price cap on Premium to Russian-origin crude petroleum products at $100 per barrel. The discount to crude price cap applies to naphtha, residual fuel oil, and waste oils, whereas the premium to crude price cap applies to gasoline, motor fuel blending stock, gasoil and diesel fuel, kerosene and kerosene-type jet fuel, and vacuum gas oil.
In addition, the purchase of more costly fuels for our vessels to comply with IMO 2020 regulations limiting sulfur content in fuels could negatively affect our business to the extent we are unable to recover the higher costs from our customers.
To mitigate the risk associated with fuel price increases, we may enter into forward bunker contracts that permit us to purchase fuel at a fixed price in exchange for payment of a certain amount. We may incur a loss on such contracts if the price of fuel declines below the price at which the contract permits us to purchase fuel, or a significant increase in the price of fuel may not be fully mitigated by our entry into any such contracts. Either occurrence could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, and results of operations, cash flows, and ability to pay dividends.
Long-term technological innovations could expose us to lower vessel utilization and/or decreased charter rates.
New vessel designs purport to offer material operational flexibility, increased speed, fuel economy and the ability to load and discharge cargo quicker when compared to older designs. Such savings could result in a substantial reduction of costs for charterers compared to vessels of ours. Competition from these more technologically advanced vessels may reduce demand for certain of our older vessels, impair our ability to re-charter such vessels at competitive rates, impair the resale value of such vessels and could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, cash flows and results of operations.
We operate drybulk carriers worldwide and, as a result, our business has inherent operational risks, which may reduce our revenue or increase our expenses, and we may not be adequately covered by insurance.
The international shipping industry is an inherently risky business involving global operations of ocean-going vessels. Our vessels and their cargoes are at risk of being damaged or lost because of events such as marine disasters, bad weather, mechanical failures, human error, environmental accidents, war, terrorism, piracy and other circumstances or events. In addition, transporting cargoes across a wide variety of international jurisdictions creates a risk of business interruptions due to political circumstances in foreign countries, hostilities, labor strikes and boycotts, the potential for changes in tax rates or policies, and the potential for government expropriation of our vessels. Any of these events may result in loss of revenue, increased costs and decreased cash flows to our customers, which could impair their ability to make payments to us under our charters.
Changing economic, regulatory and political conditions in some countries, including political and military conflicts, have from time to time resulted in attacks on vessels, mining of waterways, piracy, terrorism, labor strikes and boycotts. These hazards may result in death or injury to persons, loss of revenue or property, payment of ransoms, environmental damage, higher insurance rates, damage to our customer relationships, market disruptions, and interference with shipping routes (such as delay or rerouting), which may reduce our revenue or increase our expenses and also subject us to litigation.
If our vessels suffer damage, they may need to be repaired at a drydocking facility. The costs of drydock repairs are unpredictable and can be substantial. We may have to pay drydocking costs that our insurance does not cover in full. In addition, space at drydocking facilities is sometimes limited and not all drydocking facilities are conveniently located. We may be unable to find space at a suitable drydocking facility or we may be forced to travel to a drydocking facility that is distant from the relevant vessel’s position. The loss of earnings while our vessels are being repaired and repositioned or from being forced to wait for space, as well as the actual cost of repairs, could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, cash flows and results of operations. Additionally, in certain cases we bareboat charter our vessels. Such vessels could require significant repairs when the vessel is returned to us.
The operation of any vessel is subject to the inherent possibility of marine disaster, including oil spills and other environmental mishaps, and the liabilities arising from owning and operating vessels in international trade.
Furthermore, the operation of certain vessel types, such as drybulk carriers, also has certain unique risks. With a drybulk carrier, the cargo itself and its interaction with the vessel can be an operational risk. By their nature, drybulk cargoes are often heavy, dense, easily shifted, and react badly to water exposure. In addition, drybulk carriers are often subjected to battering treatment during unloading operations with grabs, jackhammers (to pry encrusted cargoes out of the hold) and small bulldozers. This treatment may cause damage to the vessel. Vessels damaged due to treatment during unloading procedures may be more susceptible to breach at sea. Hull breaches in drybulk carriers may lead to the flooding of the vessel’s holds. If a drybulk carrier suffers flooding in its forward holds, the bulk cargo may become so dense and waterlogged that its pressure may buckle the vessel’s bulkheads, leading to the loss of a vessel. If we are unable to adequately maintain our vessels, we may be unable to prevent these events. Other bulk cargoes will include a certain amount of moisture and may “liquefy” under certain conditions which can cause the cargo to shift, render the vessel unstable and cause it to sink or suffer damage. Any of these circumstances or events could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, cash flows and results of operations. In addition, the loss of any of our vessels could harm our reputation as a safe and reliable vessel owner and operator.
In the event of a casualty to a vessel or other catastrophic event, we will rely on our insurance to pay the insured value of the vessel or the damages incurred. We procure insurance for the vessels in our Fleet against those risks that we believe the shipping industry commonly insures against. These insurances include marine hull and machinery insurance, protection and indemnity insurance, war risk insurance and freight, demurrage and defense insurance, or FD&D insurance. We insure our vessels for third-party liability claims subject to and in accordance with the rules of the P&I Associations in which the vessels are entered. In this regard we are insured against some contractual claims and tort claims, including environmental damage, pollution and crew personal injury and illness claims. The current amount of insurance coverage for pollution claims available to us on commercially reasonable terms through P&I Associations is limited to $1 billion per vessel per incident. The objective of a P&I Association is to provide mutual insurance based on the aggregate tonnage of a member’s vessels entered into the association. Claims are paid through the aggregate premiums of all members of the association, although members remain subject to calls for additional funds if the aggregate premiums are insufficient to cover claims payable by the association. Claims payable by the association may include those incurred by members of the association, as well as claims payable by the association from other P&I Associations with which our P&I Association has entered into inter-association agreements. We cannot assure you that the P&I Associations to which we belong will remain viable or that we will not become subject to additional funding calls which could adversely affect us.
We do not currently maintain insurance against loss of hire on our vessels resulting from business interruptions that result from the loss of use of a vessel other than limited loss coverage relating to defined war risk events. The insurers may not pay particular claims as the payment of some claims may be treated as discretionary by the board of directors of the P&I Association. Our insurance policies may contain deductibles for which we will be responsible and limitations and exclusions which may increase our costs or lower our revenue or prevent recovery. Moreover, insurers may default on claims they are required to pay.
We cannot assure you that we will be adequately insured against all risks or that we will be able to obtain adequate insurance coverage at reasonable rates for our vessels in the future, or that we will be able to obtain certain insurance coverage. For example, in the past more stringent environmental regulations have led to increased costs for, and in the future may result in the lack of availability of, insurance against risks of environmental damage or pollution. Additionally, our insurers may refuse to pay particular claims. Any significant loss or liability for which we are not insured could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, cash flows and results of operations.
Maritime claimants could arrest or attach one or more of our vessels, which could interrupt our cash flows.
In certain jurisdictions, an extensive range of claims may give rise to maritime liens, such as claims by suppliers of goods and services to a vessel and cargo claims, and maritime liens against a vessel maybe granted for claims against the time charterer of that vessel. The holder of a maritime lien is entitled to enforce the claim against the vessel notwithstanding that the claim may be against another party that has an interest in the vessel. In addition, in some jurisdictions, such as South Africa under the “associated ship” procedures, a claimant may arrest either the vessel that is subject to the claimant’s maritime claim or any “associated” vessel, which is any other vessel owned by the same owner or is owned by a company that is controlled, directly or indirectly by any person or persons through the owning company or the chartering company, whomever was liable, at the time the claim arose.
The arrest or attachment of one or more of our vessels could require us to pay large sums of money to have the arrest or attachment lifted. The occurrence of any of the above events could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, cash flows and results of operations.
Labor interruptions could disrupt our business.
We could be subject to industrial action or other labor unrest that could prevent or hinder our operations from being carried out normally. If not resolved in a timely and cost-effective manner, such business interruptions could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, cash flows and results of operations. These effects would be exacerbated if such a disruption were to occur on one of our vessels that are manned by masters, officers and crews that are employed by third parties that we do not control.
Our vessels may call on ports located in countries that are subject to restrictions imposed by the United States, United Kingdom, United Nations or other governments, which could adversely affect our reputation and the market for our ordinary shares.
Although we do not expect that our vessels will call on ports located in countries subject to sanctions and embargoes imposed by the U.S. government and other authorities or countries identified by the U.S. government or other authorities as state sponsors of terrorism, from time to time on charterers’ instructions, our vessels may call on ports located in such countries in the future. Our vessels have called on ports in Cuba on very limited occasions in compliance with applicable sanctions, including with respect to humanitarian shipments arranged by the United States Agency for International Development, or USAID. Prior to each voyage on behalf of USAID, we confirmed that the charterer possessed a license authorizing the transactions under U.S. sanctions laws. The U.S. sanctions and embargo laws and regulations vary in their application, as they do not all apply to the same covered persons or proscribe the same activities, and such sanctions and embargo laws and regulations may be amended or strengthened over time.
On August 2, 2017, the United States enacted the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, or CAATSA. CAATSA authorizes secondary sanctions on persons worldwide who conduct certain business with Iran, Russia, and North Korea. These include secondary sanctions on persons (1) dealing with most sectors of the North Korean economy, including the transportation sector, (2) engaging in any activity related to Iran’s ballistic missile program, including transportation, and (3) dealing with certain activities in the Russian energy sector, including support of Russian energy export pipelines and certain energy projects. On September 21, 2017, President Trump issued an executive order imposing additional sanctions against North Korea, including a prohibition on vessels calling at ports in the United States that have called at North Korean ports within the past 180 days or that have engaged in vessel-to-vessel transfers with vessels that have called at North Korean ports within the past 180 days. On April 6, 2018, the United States imposed sanctions on seven Russian oligarchs and certain companies they own or control, 17 senior Russian government officials, a state-owned Russian weapons trading company, and a Russian bank. These sanctions were imposed in part under CAATSA, and some were specifically for persons operating in the energy sector of the Russian Federation economy. CAATSA also requires the mandatory imposition of secondary sanctions on any non-U.S. person that knowingly facilitates significant transactions for or on behalf of these designated Russian persons or any entities in which they own, directly or indirectly, a 50% or greater interest.
On October 13, 2017, President Trump declined to certify Iran’s compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (“JCPOA”), which had eased or waived certain nuclear-related sanctions and secondary sanctions. On January 12, 2018, President Trump announced that the United States did not intend to renew its sanctions waivers under the JCPOA when the waivers next expire on May 12, 2018 unless significant changes were made to the JCPOA. On May 8, 2018, President Trump announced that the United States would withdraw from the JCPOA and begin the process of reimposing sanctions that were waived under the JCPOA. The United States determined that these sanctions would be reimposed in two tranches. One set of sanctions was reimposed after a 90-day wind down period that ended August 6, 2018, and the remainder was reimposed after a 180-day wind down period that ended November 4, 2018. All sanctions that were suspended or waived under the JCPOA, including those under CISADA and the Iran Threat Reduction Act, have been in force since November 5, 2018 at the latest. The secondary sanctions related to Iran’s petroleum and petrochemical sectors, energy sector, and port operators, shipping, and shipbuilding sectors were reimposed after the 180-day wind down period that ended November 4, 2018. Since such time, Iran has breached certain of its undertakings in the JCPOA, although the remaining parties to the JCPOA all continue formally to be participants in the JCPOA. On February 21, 2020, Iran was placed on the blacklist of High-Risk Jurisdictions subject to a Call for Action by the Financial Action Task Force (“FATF”).
On February 24, 2022, the United States imposed additional sanctions on Russia in response to its invasion of Ukraine. Many of these sanctions are targeted at Russian banks and energy companies and Russian sovereign debt. The range of sanctions includes prohibitions on dealings in the debt or equity of certain Russian companies, as well as blocking sanctions imposed on many Russian individuals and entities. Similar sanctions have been imposed in coordination with the United States by the United Kingdom, European Union, and other countries. On March 8, 2022, President Biden issued an executive order prohibiting the importation into the United States of Russian-origin crude oil, petroleum, petroleum fuels, oil, liquefied natural gas, coal, and coal products, and prohibiting new investment by U.S. persons in the Russian energy sector. On March 11, 2022 President Biden issued an executive order prohibiting, among other things, the importation of various Russian-origin products, including seafood, alcohol, and non-industrial diamonds, into the United States and the exportation of luxury goods to Russia. On April 6, 2022, the United States issued Executive Order 14071, prohibiting new investment in Russia by a U.S. person. The U.S. also imposed full blocking sanctions on Sberbank and Alfa Bank, two of Russia’s largest financial institutions, and Alrosa, a state-owned company that is the world’s largest diamond mining company. As described in the risk factor regarding bunker prices, the United States, along with Western allies, imposed price caps on Russian-origin crude oil and petroleum products.
Although we believe that we are in compliance with all applicable sanctions and embargo laws and regulations, and intend to maintain such compliance, there can be no assurance that we will be in compliance in the future, particularly as the scope of certain laws may be unclear and may be subject to changing interpretations. Any such violation could result in an occurrence of an event of default under our credit facilities, fines or other penalties and could severely impact our ability to access U.S. capital markets and conduct our business, and could result in some investors deciding, or being required, to divest their interest, or not to invest, in us. In addition, certain institutional investors may have investment policies or restrictions that prevent them from holding securities of companies that have contracts with countries identified by the U.S. government as state sponsors of terrorism. The determination by these investors not to invest in, or to divest from, our securities may adversely affect the price at which our securities trade. Moreover, our charterers may violate applicable sanctions and embargo laws and regulations as a result of actions that do not involve us or our vessels, and those violations could in turn negatively affect our reputation or result in an inability to collect freight and demurrage when due. In addition, our reputation and the market for our securities may be adversely affected if we engage in certain other activities, such as entering into charters with individuals or entities in countries subject to U.S. sanctions and embargo laws that are not controlled by the governments of those countries, or engaging in operations associated with those countries pursuant to contracts with third parties that are unrelated to those countries or entities controlled by their governments. Investor perception of the value of our securities may be adversely affected by the consequences of war, the effects of terrorism, civil unrest and governmental actions in these and surrounding countries. The war in the Ukraine and sanctions against Russia has or may result in a negative impact on the availability of Russian and Ukrainian crews with a resulting global shortage of vessel crew and this may in turn result in higher crewing costs or an increase in the number of idle ship days.
We could be adversely affected by violations of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, U.K. Bribery Act, and other applicable worldwide anti-corruption laws.
We are subject to the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, or FCPA, and other applicable worldwide anti-corruption laws, which generally prohibit corrupt payments by us, our employees, vendors, or agents. These laws include the U.K. Bribery Act, which became effective on July 1, 2011 and which is broader in scope than the FCPA, as it prohibits bribes to any person and contains no facilitating payments exception. Under the FCPA and other applicable anti-corruption laws, we may be held liable for some actions taken by strategic or local partners and agents. We operate our vessels in some jurisdictions that international corruption monitoring groups have identified as having high levels of corruption and may utilize vendors and agents to act on our behalf in those jurisdictions. Our activities create the risk of unauthorized payments or offers of payments by one of our employees, vendors, or agents that could be in violation of the FCPA or other applicable anti-corruption laws. While we devote substantial resources to our global compliance program and have implemented policies, training, and internal controls designed to reduce the risk of corrupt payments and to comply with the FCPA and other applicable anti-corruption laws, our employees, vendors, and agents may violate our policies. We also may not be able to adequately prevent or detect all possible violations of the FCPA and other applicable anti-corruption laws. If we are found to be responsible for violations of the FCPA or other applicable anti-corruption laws (either due to our own acts or our inadvertence, or due to the acts or inadvertence of others), our company and our employees could suffer from substantial civil and criminal penalties, including fines, incarceration, prohibitions or limitations on the conduct of our business, the loss of our financing facilities and significant reputational damage, including our relationships with our customers, all of which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, cash flows and results of operations. Government or regulatory investigations into potential violations of the FCPA or other applicable anti-corruption laws by Grindrod Shipping or its employees, vendors, or agents could also have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, cash flows and results of operations. Furthermore, detecting, investigating, and resolving actual or alleged violations of the FCPA and other applicable anti-corruption laws is expensive and can consume significant time and attention of our senior management.
The smuggling of drugs or other contraband onto our vessels may lead to governmental claims against us.
We expect that our vessels will call in ports where smugglers attempt to hide drugs and other contraband on vessels, with or without the knowledge of crew members. To the extent our vessels are found with contraband, whether inside or attached to the hull of our vessel and whether with or without the knowledge of any of our crew, we may face reputational damage and governmental or other regulatory claims which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, cash flows and results of operations.
Governments could requisition our vessels during a period of war or emergency, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, cash flows and results of operations.
A government could requisition one or more of our vessels for title or for hire. Requisition for title occurs when a government takes control of a vessel and becomes its owner, while requisition for hire occurs when a government takes control of a vessel and effectively becomes its charterer at dictated charter rates. Generally, requisitions occur during periods of war or emergency, although governments may elect to requisition vessels in other circumstances. Although we may be entitled to compensation in the event of a requisition of one or more of our vessels, the amount and timing of payment would be uncertain. Government requisition of one or more of our vessels could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, cash flows and results of operations.
Risks Related to Our Business
A substantial number of our drybulk vessels are employed in the spot market. Any decrease in drybulk spot rates in the future could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, cash flows and results of operations.
A substantial number of our drybulk carriers are currently employed in the spot market. This exposes us to fluctuations in spot rates. The spot market may fluctuate significantly based upon drybulk carrier, cargo, energy resources, commodities and industrial products supply and demand. The successful operation of our vessels in the competitive spot charter market, depends on, among other things, obtaining profitable spot contracts and minimizing, to the extent possible, time spent waiting for employment and time spent traveling unemployed to a demand area. The spot market is very volatile, and, in the past, there have been periods when spot market rates have declined below the operating cost of vessels. If future spot market rates decline, then we may be unable to operate our vessels trading in the spot market profitably, meet our obligations, including payments on indebtedness, or pay dividends in the future. Furthermore, as spot charters may last up to several weeks, during periods in which spot rates are rising we will generally experience delays in realizing the benefits from such increases.
Our ability to renew expiring contracts or obtain new contracts on favorable terms or at all will depend on the prevailing market conditions at the time. If we are not able to extend contracts in direct continuation of current contracts or we are not able to obtain new contracts for existing or new owned vessels or new chartered-in vessels upon their delivery to us, or if new charters are entered into with our customers at charter rates substantially below the existing charter rates or on terms otherwise less favorable compared to current charter terms, this could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, cash flows and results of operations.
In addition, we cannot assure you that we will be successful in finding employment for vessels we manage in the volatile drybulk spot market or whether any such employment will be at profitable rates. We cannot assure you that our vessels will be profitably operated by ourselves where we commercially manage our vessels outside of pools.
A reduction in charter rates, spot market rates and other market deterioration or the aging of our Fleet may require us to record impairment charges related to our long-lived assets (our vessels) and such charges may be large and have a material impact on our financial statements.
At December 31, 2022, we had vessels of $406.8 million in total on our consolidated statements of financial position, representing approximately 142% of our total equity.
At the end of each reporting period, and on a continuous basis, if indicators of impairment are present, the carrying amount of tangible and intangible assets is assessed to determine whether there is any indication that those assets may have suffered an impairment loss. We also assess the carrying value of an asset when we have contracted to divest of the asset for any reason, including the age of our vessels, if a joint venture that owns vessels comes to an end in accordance with its terms or if the asset no longer fits into our strategic planning. During the year ended December 31, 2020, we impaired vessels to the extent of $16.3 million as we contracted to sell them. During the year ended December 31, 2021, we reversed the impairment of a drybulk carrier to the extent of $3.6 million when the decision to sell was reversed and we reversed the impairment loss on the right-of-use assets to the extent of $1.0 million as the recoverable amount exceeded the carrying value. During the year ended December 31, 2022, we reversed the impairment of a drybulk carrier to the extent of $1.7 million when we decided to sell the vessel and we impaired the right-of-use assets to the extent of $1.0 million as the recoverable amount dropped below the carrying value.
If there is a reduction in our estimated charter rates, or if we intend to divest additional vessels, we may be required to record further impairment charges on our vessels, which would require us to write down the carrying value of these assets to their fair value. Since vessels and from time to time vessels under construction comprise a substantial portion of our consolidated statements of financial position, such charges could have a material impact on our financial statements. See “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects—Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates”.