ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2019
TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
Commission File Number: 001-36798
PANGAEA LOGISTICS SOLUTIONS, LTD.
(Exact Name of Registrant as Specified in Its Charter)
(State or Other Jurisdiction of Incorporation or
(I.R.S. Employer Identification Number)
c/o Phoenix Bulk Carriers (US) LLC
109 Long Wharf, Newport, RI 02840
(Address of Principal Executive Offices)
(Registrant’s Telephone Number, Including Area Code)
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Title of each class
Name of each exchange on which registered
Common Shares, $0.0001 par value
The NASDAQ Stock Market LLC
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. Yes ¨ No ý
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Exchange Act. Yes ¨ No ý
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Exchange Act of 1934 during the past 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirement for the past 90 days. Yes ý No ¨
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically and posted on its corporate Web site, if any, every Interactive Data File required to be submitted and posted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit and post such files). Yes ý No ¨
Indicate by check mark if disclosure of delinquent filers in response to Item 405 of Regulation S-K is not contained herein, and will not be contained, to the best of the registrant’s knowledge, in definitive proxy or information statements incorporated by reference in Part III of this Form 10-K or any amendment to this Form 10-K. ý
Indicate by check mark whether the Registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer or a smaller reporting company. See definition of “accelerated filer” and “large accelerated filer” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act. (Check one):
Large accelerated filer ¨
Accelerated filer ¨
Non-accelerated filer x
Smaller reporting company x
Emerging growth company ¨
If an emerging growth company, 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. ¨
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act). Yes ¨ No x
The aggregate market value of the registrant's Common Stock held by non-affiliates at June 30, 2019 was approximately $27.3 million based on the Nasdaq closing price for such shares on that date. The registrant has no non-voting common equity.
As of March 23, 2020, 45,077,335 shares of Common Shares, $.0001 par value per share were outstanding.
In this Annual Report on Form 10-K (this “Form 10-K”), references to “the Company,” “we,” “us” and “our” refer to Pangaea Logistics Solutions Ltd and its subsidiaries.
SPECIAL NOTE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS
Our disclosure and analysis in this Annual Report on Form 10-K pertaining to our operations, cash flows and financial position, including, in particular, the likelihood of our success in developing and expanding our business, include forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Statements that are predictive in nature, that depend upon or refer to future events or conditions, or that include words such as “expects,” “anticipates,” “intends,” “plans,” “believes,” “estimates,” “projects,” “forecasts,” “may,” “should” and similar expressions are forward-looking statements.
All statements in this Form 10-K that are not statements of either historical or current facts are forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, such matters as:
•our future operating or financial results;
our ability to charter-in vessels and to enter into COAs ("Contract of Affreightment"), voyage charters, time charters and forward freight agreements, and the performance of our counterparties in such contracts;
our financial condition and liquidity, including our ability to obtain financing in the future to fund capital expenditures, acquisitions and other general corporate activities;
our expectations of the availability of vessels to purchase, the time it may take to construct new vessels, and vessels’ useful lives;
competition in the drybulk shipping industry;
our business strategy and expected capital spending or operating expenses, including drydocking and insurance costs and the ability to expand our presence in logistics trades and custom supply chain management;
global and regional economic and political conditions, including piracy; and
statements about shipping market trends, including charter rates and factors affecting supply and demand.
Many of these statements are based on our assumptions about factors that are beyond our ability to control or predict and are subject to risks and uncertainties that are described more fully under the “Risk Factors” section of this Form 10-K. Any of these factors or a combination of these factors could materially affect our future results of operations and the ultimate accuracy of the forward-looking statements. Factors that might cause future results to differ include, but are not limited to, the following:
changes in governmental rules and regulations or actions taken by regulatory authorities;
cybersecurity threats, including the potential misappropriation of assets or sensitive information, corruption of data or operational disruption;
changes in economic and competitive conditions affecting our business, including market fluctuations in charter rates and charterers’ abilities to perform under existing time charters;
potential liability from future litigation and potential costs due to environmental damage and vessel collisions;
the length and number of off-hire periods; and
other factors discussed under the “Risk Factors” section of this Form 10-K.
You should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements contained in this Annual Report on Form 10-K because they are statements about events that are not certain to occur as described or at all. All forward-looking statements in this Form 10-K are qualified in their entirety by the cautionary statements contained in this Form 10-K. These forward-looking statements are not guarantees of our future performance, and actual results and future developments may vary materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements.
Except to the extent required by applicable law or regulation, we undertake no obligation to release publicly any revisions to these forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date of this Form 10-K or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events.
ITEM 1. BUSINESS
Pangaea Logistics Solutions Ltd. and its subsidiaries (collectively, “Pangaea” or the “Company”) provides seaborne drybulk logistics and transportation services. Pangaea utilizes its logistics expertise to service a broad base of industrial customers who require the transportation of a wide variety of drybulk cargoes, including grains, coal, iron ore, pig iron, hot briquetted iron, bauxite, alumina, cement clinker, dolomite and limestone. The Company addresses the logistics needs of its customers by undertaking a comprehensive set of services and activities, including cargo loading, cargo discharge, vessel chartering, voyage planning, and vessel technical management.
The Company provides logistics and transportation services to clients utilizing an ocean-going fleet of motor vessels ("m/v") in the Handymax, Supramax, Ultramax and Panamax segments. At any time, this fleet may be comprised of 30-50 vessels that are chartered-in on a short-term basis for operation under our contract business. In addition, during most of the year 2019, the Company operated 20 vessels which were wholly-owned or partially-owned through joint ventures. The Company uses this fleet to transport approximately 25 million tons of cargo annually to nearly 250 ports around the world, averaging approximately 48 vessels in service daily in 2019 and 45 during 2018.
The Company’s ocean logistics services provide cargo loading, cargo discharge, vessel chartering, voyage planning, and technical vessel management to vessel and cargo owners. Our logistics capabilities provide a wide array of services which allow our customers to extend their own services, to more efficiently transport their cargo, and to extend relationships with their own suppliers and customers. For some customers, the Company acts as their ocean logistics department, providing scheduling, terminal operations, port services, and marketing functions. For other customers, the Company transports supplies used in mining or processing in addition to cargo transport. The Company has worked with other customers on design, construction, and operation of loading and discharge facilities.
In addition, the Company focuses on fixing cargo and cargo contracts for transportation on backhaul routes. Backhaul routes position vessels for cargo discharge in typical loading areas. Backhaul routes allow us to reduce ballast days and instead earn revenues at times and on routes that are typically traveled without paying cargo.
The Company is a leader in the high ice class sector, secured by its control of a majority of the world's large dry bulk vessels with Ice-Class 1A designation. High ice class trading includes service in ice-restricted areas during both the winter (Baltic Sea and Gulf of St. Lawrence) and summer (Arctic Ocean). Trading during the ice seasons have provided superior profit margins, rewarding the Company for its investment in the specialized ships and the expertise it has developed working in these harsh environments.
The Company derives substantially all of its revenue from contracts of affreightment, “COAs”, voyage charters, and time charters. The Company transports a wide range of fundamental global commodities including grains, coal, iron ore, pig iron, hot briquetted iron, bauxite, alumina, cement clinker, dolomite, limestone, and other minor bulk cargo.
The Company’s COAs typically extend for a period of one to five years, although some extend for longer periods. A voyage charter is a contract for the carriage of a specific amount and type of cargo on a load port to discharge port basis, subject to various cargo handling terms. COAs and voyage charters provide voyage revenue to the Company. A time charter is a contract under which the Company is paid to provide a vessel on a per day basis for a specified period of time. Time charters provide charter revenues to the Company.
Active risk management is an important part of our business model. The Company believes its active risk management allows it to reduce the sensitivity of its revenues to market fluctuations and helps it to secure its long-term profitability and lower relative volatility of earnings. We manage market risk by chartering in vessels for periods of less than nine months on average and through a portfolio approach based upon owned vessels, chartered-in vessels, COAs, voyage charters, and time charters. The Company tries to identify routes and ports for efficient bunkering to minimize its fuel expense. The Company also seeks to hedge a portion
of its exposure to changes in the price of marine fuels, or bunkers, through fuel swaps; and to fluctuating future freight rates through forward freight agreements. The Company has also entered into interest rate agreements to fix a portion of our interest rate exposure.
The Company’s principal business objectives are to profitably grow its business and increase shareholder value. The Company expects to achieve these objectives through the following strategies:
Focus on increasing strategic COAs. COA is an agreement providing for the transportation between specified points for a specific quantity of cargo over a specific time period but without designating specific vessels or voyage schedules, thereby allowing flexibility in scheduling since no vessel designation is required. COAs can either have a fixed rate or a market-related rate. The Company intends to increase our COA business, in particular, COAs for cargo discharge in traditional loading areas (backhaul), by leveraging its relationships with existing customers and attracting new customers. The Company believes that its dedication to solving its customer’s logistics problems, and its reputation and experience in carrying a wide range of cargoes and transiting less common routes and ports, increases its likelihood of securing strategic COAs.
Expand capacity and flexibility by increasing its owned fleet. The Company is continually looking to acquire additional high-quality vessels suited for its business strategy, the needs of its customers and growth opportunities the Company identifies. The Company believes that its experience as a reliable and serious counterparty in the purchase and sale market for second-hand vessels positions it as a candidate for acquisition of high quality vessels. The Company currently controls (owns or has an ownership interest in) a fleet of 20 bulk carriers. The current fleet includes six Ice-Class 1A Panamax, two Ice-Class 1C Ultramax, three Panamax, eight Supramax and one Handymax Ice-Class 1A bulk carriers.
Increase backhaul focus, expand and defend its presence in the niche ice trades and increase fleet efficiency. The Company continues to focus on backhaul cargoes, including backhaul cargoes associated with COAs, to reduce ballast days and increase expected earnings for well-positioned vessels. In addition, the Company intends to continue to charter in vessels for periods of less than nine months, on average, to permit it to match its variable costs to demand. The Company believes that increased vessel utilization and positioning efficiency will enhance its profitability.
Focus on customized and complete logistics solutions within targeted dry bulk trades. The Company intends to leverage its experience in designing custom loading and discharging systems in critical ports and optimizing vessel operations in ports to provide complete logistics solutions to its clients. The Company continues to look for opportunities to transport cargo for clients from, or to, rarely used or underdeveloped port facilities to expand its operations. The Company believes this operational expertise and complete logistics solutions will enhance the services offered, strengthen our client relationships and generate increased operating margins for the Company.
The Company believes that it possesses a number of competitive strengths in its industry, including:
Expertise in certain niche markets and routes. The Company has developed expertise and a major presence in selected niche markets and less commoditized routes, especially the Baltic Sea in winter, the Northern Sea Route between Europe and Asia in summer, and the trade route between Jamaica and the United States, as well as selected ports, particularly in Newfoundland and Baffin Island. The Company believes that there is less competition to carry “minor,” as compared to traditional “major,” bulk cargoes, and, similarly, that there is less competition on less commoditized routes. The Company believes that its experience in carrying a wide range of cargoes and transiting less common routes and ports increases its likelihood of securing higher rates and margins than those available for more commoditized cargoes and routes. The Company believes it operates assets well suited to certain of these routes, including its Japanese built Ice-Class 1A Panamax and Ice-Class 1C Utramax vessels. The ice-class fleet has historically produced margins that are superior to the average market rate. More than half of its fleet is chartered in and the Company selects these vessels to match the cargo and port characteristics of their nominated voyages. The Company has experience operating in all regularly operating dry bulk loading and discharge ports globally.
Enhanced vessel utilization and profitability through strategic backhaul and triangulation methods. The Company enhances vessel utilization and profitability through selecting COAs and other contracts to carry cargo on what would normally be backhaul or ballast legs. In contrast to the typical practice of incurring charter hire and bunker costs to position an empty vessel in a port or area where cargo is normally loaded, the Company instead actively works with its customers to secure cargoes for discharge in traditional loading areas (backhaul). This practice allows the Company to position vessels for loading at lower costs than it would bear if it positioned such vessels by traveling unladen or if the Company chartered in vessels in a loading area. The Company believes that this focus on backhaul cargoes permits them to benefit from ballast bonuses that are paid to position vessels for fronthaul cargoes or, alternatively, to earn a premium for delivering ships that are in position for fronthaul cargoes.
Strong relationships with major industrial customers. The Company has developed strong commercial relationships with a number of major industrial customers. These customer relationships are based upon the Company’s reputation and specific history of service to these customers. The Company believes that these relationships help it generate recurring business with such customers which, in some cases, are formalized through contracts for repeat business (COAs). The Company also believes that these relationships can help create new opportunities. Although many of these relationships have extended over a period of years, there is no assurance that such relationships or business will continue in the future. The Company believes that its familiarity with local regulations and market conditions at its routinely serviced ports, particularly in Newfoundland, Baffin Island and Jamaica, provides it with a strong competitive advantage and allows it to attract new customers and secure recurring business.
Logistics approach to commodity business. The Company seeks employment for its vessels in a way that utilizes its expertise in enhancing productivity of clients' supply chains. The Company focuses on movements of cargo beyond loading and discharge berths and looks for opportunities to add value in clients' supply chains. The Company believes its additional efforts in providing complete logistics provides a competitive advantage and allows it to maintain strong client relationships and generate increased operating margins for the Company.
Experienced management team. The day-to-day operations of a logistics and transportation services company requires close coordination among customers, land-based transportation providers and port authorities around the world. Its efficient operation depends on the experience and expertise of management at all levels, from vessel acquisition and financing strategy to oversight of vessel technical operations and cargo loading and discharge. The Company has a management team of senior executive officers and key employees with extensive experience and relationships in the commercial, technical, and financial areas of the drybulk shipping industry.
Strong Alignment and Transparency. The Company observes that many publicly traded shipping companies rely on service providers affiliated with senior management or dominant shareholders for fundamental activities. Beyond the operational benefits to its customers of integrated commercial and technical management, the Company believes that its shareholders are benefited by its strategy of performing many of those activities in-house. Related to these efforts to maximize alignment of interest, the Company believes that the associated transparency of ownership and authority will be attractive to current and prospective shareholders.
Risk-management discipline. The Company believes its risk management strategy allows it to reduce the sensitivity of its earnings to market changes and lower the risk of losses. The Company manages its risks primarily through short-term charter-in agreements of less than nine months, on average, through the use of forward freight agreements ("FFAs") and fuel hedges, and through modest leverage. The Company believes that shorter-term charters permit it to adjust its variable costs to match demand more rapidly than if it chartered in those vessels for longer periods. The Company may choose to manage the risks of higher rates for certain future voyages by purchasing and selling FFAs to limit the impact of changes in chartering rates. Similarly, the Company may choose to manage the risks of increasing fuel costs through bunker hedging transactions in order to limit the impact of changes in fuel prices on voyage results.
The Company’s management team consists of senior executive officers and key employees with decades of experience in the commercial, technical, management and financial areas of the logistics and shipping industries. The Company’s co-founder and Chief Executive Officer, Edward Coll, has over 40 years of experience in the drybulk shipping industry. Other members of its management team and key employees, Mark Filanowski, Mads Boye Petersen, Peter Koken, Neil McLaughlin, Robert Seward, Fotis Doussopoulos, and Gianni Del Signore, also have extensive experience in the shipping industry. The Company believes its management team is well respected in the drybulk sector of the shipping industry and, over the years, has developed strong commercial relationships with industrial customers and lenders. The Company believes that the experience, reputation and background of its management team will continue to be key factors in its success.
The Company provides logistics services and commercially manages its fleet primarily from offices in Newport, Rhode Island, Copenhagen, Denmark and Singapore. Logistics services and commercial management include identifying cargo for transportation, voyage planning, managing relationships, identifying vessels to charter in, and operating such vessels.
The Company’s Ice-Class 1A Panamax vessels are technically managed by a third-party manager with extensive expertise managing these vessel types and with ice pilotage. The technical management of the remainder of the Company’s owned and bareboat chartered fleet is performed in-house by our 51% owned joint venture, Seamar Management, S.A.. The Company’s technical management personnel have experience in the complexities of oceangoing vessel operations, including the supervision of maintenance, repairs, improvements, drydocking and crewing. The technical management for the Company’s chartered-in vessels is performed by each respective ship owner.
Operations and Assets
The Company is a service business and our customers use the services we provide because they believe the Company adds and creates value for them. To add value, the Company works with its customers to provide a wide range of logistics services beyond the traditional loading, carriage and discharge of cargoes. For example, the Company works with certain customers to review their contractual delivery terms and conditions, permitting those customers to reduce costs and certain risks. The Company also has a customer that is heavily dependent upon a port that was insufficiently supported by port pilots for the approach to port. To permit a large expansion of its services for this client, the Company formed a separate pilots association to increase the number of available pilots and improve access to the port. Another example of value added services is the formation of a new port in Newfoundland, Canada to load aggregate cargo for export and a temporary port used in Greenland to load the northernmost dry bulk cargo ever carried. As a result of efforts such as these, in some cases the Company is the de facto logistics department for certain clients.
The Company’s core offering is the safe, reliable, and timely loading, carriage, and discharge of cargoes for customers. This offering requires identifying customers, agreeing on the terms of service, selecting a vessel to undertake the voyage, working with port personnel to load and discharge cargo, and documenting the transfers of title upon loading or discharge of the cargo. As a result, the Company spends significant time and resources to identify and retain customers and source potential cargoes in its areas of operation. To further expand its customer base and potential cargoes, the Company has developed expertise in servicing ports and routes subject to severe ice conditions, including the Baltic Sea and the Northern Sea Route. The Company’s subsidiary, Nordic Bulk Carriers A/S (“NBC”), is an adviser to the European Commission on Arctic maritime issues.
As of March 23, 2020, the Company operates its fleet of 18 owned or partially owned vessels, which are described in the table below:
m/v Bulk Endurance
Ultramax (Ice Class 1C)
m/v Bulk Destiny
Ultramax (Ice Class 1C)
m/v Nordic Oasis
Panamax (Ice Class 1A)
m/v Nordic Olympic
Panamax (Ice Class 1A)
m/v Nordic Odin
Panamax (Ice Class 1A)
m/v Nordic Oshima
Panamax (Ice Class 1A)
m/v Nordic Orion
Panamax (Ice Class 1A)
m/v Nordic Odyssey
Panamax (Ice Class 1A)
m/v Bulk Friendship
Nantong Cosco Kawasaki HI
m/v Bulk Independence
m/v Bulk Pride
Tsuneishi Group (Zhoushan) Shipbuilding Inc.
m/v Bulk Trident
Tsuneishi Heavy Industries (Cebu)
m/v Bulk Freedom
Tsuneishi Shipbuilding Co. Ltd.
m/v Bulk Newport
Shin Kurushima Toyohashi
m/v Bulk Beothuk
m/v Bulk Spirit
m/v Bulk Pangaea
m/v Bulk PODS
Imabari SB Marugame
The Company owns its vessels through separate wholly-owned subsidiaries and through joint venture entities with other owners, which the Company consolidates as variable interest entities in its consolidated financial statements.
The Company owns one-third of Nordic Bulk Holding Company Ltd., (“NBHC”), a corporation that was duly organized under the laws of Bermuda in October 2012. The m/v Nordic Orion (“Orion”), the m/v Nordic Odyssey (“Odyssey”), the m/v Nordic Oshima (“Oshima”), the m/v Nordic Olympic (“Olympic”), the m/v Nordic Odin (“Odin”) and the m/v Nordic Oasis (“Oasis”) are owned by wholly-owned subsidiaries of NBHC. All of these vessels are chartered to NBC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Company, at fixed rates and also have a profit share arrangement. NBC commercially operates these vessels in spot and COA trades.
At its formation in 2013, the Company owned 50% of Nordic Bulk Ventures Holding Company Ltd., (“BVH”), a corporation that was duly organized under the laws of Bermuda for the purpose of owning Bulk Nordic Five Ltd. (“Five”) and Bulk Nordic Six Ltd. (“Six”). The m/v Bulk Endurance ("Endurance") and the m/v Bulk Destiny (“Destiny”) are owned by Five and Six, respectively. In January 2017, the Company purchased its joint venture partner's 50% interest in BVH, giving the Company full control of both vessels.
In addition to its owned fleet, the Company operates chartered-in Panamax, Supramax, Handymax and Handysize drybulk carriers. The Company employed an average of 48 vessels at any one time during 2019 and 45 in 2018. In 2019, the Company owned interests in 20 vessels and chartered in another 177 for one or more voyages. In 2018, the Company owned interests in 20 vessels and chartered in another 159 for one or more voyages. The Company generally charters in third-party vessels for periods of less than nine months and, in most cases, less than six months. Chartered-in contracts are negotiated through third-party brokers, who are paid commission on a percentage basis. The Company believes that shorter-term charters afford it flexibility to match its variable costs to its customers’ service requirements. The Company also believes that this combination of owned and chartered-in vessels helps it to more efficiently match its customer demand than the Company could with only owned vessels or an entirely chartered-in fleet.
The Company is a holding company incorporated under the laws of Bermuda as an exempted company on April 29, 2014. The Company’s principal executives operate from the offices of its wholly-owned subsidiary Phoenix Bulk Carriers (US) LLC, which is located at 109 Long Wharf, Newport, Rhode Island 02840.The phone number at that address is (401) 846-7790. The Company also has offices in Copenhagen, Denmark, Athens, Greece and Singapore. The Company’s corporate website address is http://www.pangaeals.com.
As of March 23, 2020, the Company’s significant subsidiaries are as follows:
Country of Organization
Proportion of Ownership Interest
Americas Bulk Transport (BVI) Limited
British Virgin Islands
Phoenix Bulk Management Bermuda Limited
Phoenix Bulk Carriers (BVI) Limited (“PBC”)
British Virgin Islands
Bulk Ocean Shipping Company (Bermuda) Ltd.
Phoenix Bulk Carriers (US) LLC
Allseas Logistics Bermuda Ltd.
Bulk Patriot Ltd. (“Bulk Patriot”)
Bulk Juliana Ltd. (“Bulk Juliana”)
Bulk Trident Ltd. (“Bulk Trident”)
Bulk Atlantic Ltd. (“Bulk Beothuk”)
Nordic Bulk Barents Ltd. (“Bulk Barents”)
Nordic Bulk Bothnia Ltd. (“Bulk Bothnia”)
Nordic Bulk Carriers A/S (“NBC”)
Nordic Bulk Ventures (Cyprus) Limited ("NBV")
109 Long Wharf LLC (“Long Wharf”)
Bulk Nordic Odyssey Ltd. (“Bulk Odyssey”)
Bulk Nordic Orion Ltd. (“Bulk Orion”)
Bulk Nordic Oshima Ltd. (“Bulk Oshima”)
Bulk Nordic Odin Ltd. (“Bulk Odin”)
Bulk Nordic Olympic Ltd. (“Bulk Olympic”)
Bulk Nordic Oasis Ltd. (“Bulk Oasis”)
Nordic Bulk Holding Company Ltd. (“NBHC”)
Bulk Nordic Five Ltd. (“Five”)
Bulk Nordic Six Ltd. (“Six”)
Bulk Nordic Seven LLC (“Seven”)
Bulk Nordic Eight LLC (“Eight”)
Bulk Nordic Nine LLC (“Nine”)
Bulk Nordic Ten LLC (“Ten”)
Nordic Bulk Partners LLC (“NBP”)
Nordic Bulk Ventures Holding Company Ltd. (“BVH”)
Bulk Freedom Corp. ("Bulk Freedom")
Bulk Pride Corp. ("Bulk Pride")
Bulk Independence Corp. ("Bulk Independence")
Bulk Friendship Corp. ("Bulk Friendship")
Bulk Beothuk Corp. (“Bulk Beothuk”)
Venture Barge (U.S) Corp. ("VBC")
Venture Logistics NL Inc. ("VLNL")
Flintstone Ventures Limited ("FVL")
Newfoundland and Labrador
Seamar Management S.A.
Bulk PODS Ltd. (Bulk PODS")
Bulk Spirit Ltd. ("Bulk Spirit")
Nordic Bulk Carriers Singapore Pte. Ltd.
Narragansett Bulk Carriers (US) Corp.
Patriot Stevedoring & Logistics, LLC
Bay Stevedoring LLC
Pangaea Logistics Solutions (US) LLC
King George Slag LLC ("KGS")
The primary purpose of this corporation is to manage and operate ocean going vessels.
The primary purpose of this entity is to perform certain administrative management functions that have been assigned by PBC.
The primary purpose of this corporation is to provide logistics services to customers by chartering, managing and operating ships.
The primary purpose of this corporation is to manage the fuel procurement for all vessels.
The primary purpose of this corporation is to act as the U.S. administrative agent for the Company.
The primary purpose of this corporation is to act as the treasury agent for the Company.
The primary purpose of these entities is owning bulk carriers.
The primary purpose of these entities is to provide logistics services to customers by chartering, managing and operating ships. NBV is the holding company of NBC.
Long Wharf is a limited liability company duly organized under the laws of Delaware for the purpose of holding real estate located in Newport, Rhode Island.
The primary purpose of these entities is owning bulk carriers. These companies are wholly-owned by NBHC, which is one-third owned by the Company.
The primary purpose of this entity is to own or lease bulk carriers through wholly-owned subsidiaries. The Company’s interest in Bulk Odyssey, Bulk Orion, Bulk Oshima, Bulk Olympic, Bulk Odin and Bulk Oasis is through its interest in NBHC.
The primary purpose of this entity is to own or lease bulk carriers through wholly-owned subsidiaries.
The primary purpose of VBC/VLNL is to own and operate the deck barge Miss Nora G. Pearl.
The primary purpose of FVL is the carriage of specialized cargo.
This entity is the technical manager of 12 vessels owned and operated by the Company.
The primary purpose of the company is to manage and operate the Brayton Point Commerce Center Marine Terminal.
The primary purpose of the company is to manage and operate a port terminal in Louisiana.
The primary purpose of the company is to manage U.S.-based business activities.
The primary purpose of the company is to buy, sell, and distribute cement and cement related materials and general construction aggregates.
Crewing and Employees
Each of our vessels is crewed with 20-25 independently contracted officers and crew members and, on certain vessels, directly contracted officers. Our technical managers are responsible for locating, contracting and retaining qualified officers for its vessels. The crewing agencies handle each crew member’s training, travel and payroll, and ensure that all the crew members on its vessels have the qualifications and licenses required to comply with international regulations and shipping conventions. The Company typically has more crew members on board than are required by the country of the vessel’s flag in order to allow for the performance of routine maintenance duties.
The Company employs approximately 70 shore-based personnel and had approximately 430 independently contracted seagoing personnel on its owned vessels. The shore-based personnel are employed in the United States, Athens, Copenhagen and Singapore.
The Company operates in markets that are highly competitive and based primarily on supply and demand for ocean transport of drybulk commodities. The Company competes for COAs on the basis of service, price, route history, size, age and condition of the vessel and for charters on the basis of service, price, vessel availability, size, age and condition of the vessel, as well as on its reputation as an owner and operator. The Company principally competes with owners and operators of Panamax, Supramax, Ultramax and Handymax bulk carriers. The Company attempts to differentiate itself from other owners and operators by extending its services to support more of its customers' supply chains.
Demand for vessel capacity has historically exhibited seasonal variations and, as a result, fluctuations in charter rates. This seasonality may result in quarter-to-quarter volatility in the Company's operating results. The dry bulk carrier market is typically stronger in the fall months in anticipation of increased consumption of coal and other raw materials in the northern hemisphere during the winter months. In addition, unpredictable weather patterns in these months tend to disrupt vessel scheduling and supplies of certain commodities. The Company may earn higher margins on ice-class business in winter and during severe ice trading.
Permits and Authorizations
The Company is required by various governmental and quasi-governmental agencies to obtain certain permits and certificates with respect to its vessels. The kinds of permits and certificates required depend upon several factors, including the commodity transported, the waters in which the vessel operates, the nationality of the vessel’s crew and the age of the vessel. The Company has been able to obtain all permits and certificates currently required to permit its vessels to operate. Additional laws and regulations, environmental or otherwise, may be adopted which could limit its ability to do business or increase the cost of doing business.
Environmental and Other Regulations
Government regulation significantly affects the ownership and operation of the Company's vessels. The Company is subject to international conventions and treaties, national, state and local laws and regulations in force in the countries in which its vessels may operate or are registered. These regulations relate to safety, health and environmental protection including the storage, handling, emission, transportation and discharge of hazardous and non-hazardous materials, and the remediation of contamination and liability for damage to natural resources. Compliance with such laws, regulations and other requirements entails significant expense, including vessel modifications and implementation of certain operating procedures.
A variety of government and private entities subject the Company’s vessels to both scheduled and unscheduled inspections. These entities include the local port authorities (such as the U.S. Coast Guard, harbor master or equivalent), classification societies, flag state administrations (countries of registry), charterers and terminal operators. Certain of these entities require them to obtain permits, certificates or approvals for the operation of its vessels. Failure to maintain necessary permits, certificates or approvals could require it to incur substantial costs or temporarily suspend the operation of one or more of its vessels.
The Company believes that the heightened level of environmental and quality concerns among insurance underwriters, regulators, the United Nations and other governments, and charterers is leading to greater inspection and safety requirements on all vessels and may accelerate the scrapping of older vessels throughout the dry bulk shipping industry. Increasing environmental concerns have created a demand for vessels that conform to the stricter environmental standards. The Company is required to maintain operating standards for all of its vessels that emphasize operational safety, quality maintenance, continuous training of its officers and crews and compliance with United States and international regulations. The Company believes that the operation of its vessels is in substantial compliance with applicable environmental laws and regulations and that its vessels have all material permits, certificates or other approvals necessary for the conduct of its operations as of the date of this Form 10-K. However, because such laws and regulations are frequently changed and may impose increasingly strict requirements, the Company cannot predict the ultimate cost of complying with these requirements, or the impact of these requirements on the resale value or useful lives of its vessels. In addition, a future serious marine incident that results in significant oil pollution or otherwise causes significant adverse environmental impact could result in additional legislation or regulation that could negatively affect the Company’s profitability.
The laws and regulations discussed below may not constitute a comprehensive list of all such laws and regulations that are applicable to the operation of its vessels.
International Maritime Organization
The United Nations’ International Maritime Organization, or the IMO, has adopted the International Convention for the Prevention of Marine Pollution from Ships, 1973, as modified by the Protocol of 1978 relating thereto (collectively referred to as MARPOL 73/78 and herein as “MARPOL”). MARPOL entered into force on October 2, 1983. It has been adopted by over 150 nations, including many of the jurisdictions in which the Company's vessels operate. MARPOL sets forth pollution-prevention requirements applicable to drybulk carriers, among other vessels, and is broken into six Annexes, each of which regulates a different source of pollution. Annex I relates to oil leakage or spilling; Annexes II and III relate to harmful substances carried, in bulk, in liquid or packaged form, respectively; and Annexes IV and V relate to sewage and garbage management, respectively. Annex VI, separately adopted by the IMO in September of 1997, relates to air emissions.
In September of 1997, the IMO adopted Annex VI to MARPOL to address air pollution. Effective May 2005, Annex VI sets limits on nitrogen oxide emissions from ships whose diesel engines were constructed (or underwent major conversions) on or after January 1, 2000. It also prohibits “deliberate emissions” of “ozone depleting substances,” defined to include certain halons and chlorofluorocarbons. Deliberate emissions are not limited to times when the ship is at sea; they can for example include discharges occurring in the course of the ship’s repair and maintenance. Emissions of “volatile organic compounds” from certain tankers, and the shipboard incineration (from incinerators installed after January 1, 2000) of certain substances (such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)) are also prohibited. Annex VI also includes a global cap on the sulfur content of fuel oil (see below).
The IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee, or MEPC, adopted amendments to Annex VI on October 10, 2008, which amendments were entered into force on July 1, 2010. The Amended Annex VI seeks to further reduce air pollution by, among other things, implementing a progressive reduction of the amount of sulphur contained in any fuel oil used onboard ships. On October 27, 2016, at its 70th session, the MEPC agreed to implement a global 0.5% m/m sulfur oxide emissions limit (reduced from 3.50%) starting from January 1, 2020. This limitation can be met by using low-sulfur compliant fuel oil, alternative fuels, or certain exhaust gas cleaning systems. Ships are now required to obtain bunker delivery notes and International Air Pollution Prevention (“IAPP”) Certificates from their flag states that specify sulfur content. Additionally, at MEPC 73, amendments to Annex VI to prohibit the carriage of bunkers above 0.5% Sulphur on ships were adopted and will take effect March 1, 2020, with the exception of vessels fitted with exhaust gas cleaning equipment ("scrubbers") which can carry fuel of higher sulfur content. These regulations subject ocean-going vessels to stringent emissions controls, and may cause us to incur substantial costs, including those related to the purchase, installation and operation of scrubbers and the purchase of compliant fuel oil.
Beginning January 1, 2015, ships operating within an emission control area ("ECA") were not permitted to use fuel with sulfur content in excess of 0.1% (from 1.0%). Amended Annex VI establishes procedures for designating new ECAs. Currently, the Baltic Sea, the North Sea, certain coastal areas of North America and areas of the United States Caribbean Sea adjacent to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands are designated ECAs. Ocean-going vessels in these areas are subject to stringent emissions controls, which may cause the Company to incur additional costs. If other ECAs are approved by the IMO or other new or more stringent requirements relating to emissions from marine diesel engines or port operations by vessels are adopted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (the "EPA"), or the states where the Company operates, compliance with these regulations could entail significant capital expenditures or otherwise increase the costs of operations.
As of January 1, 2013, MARPOL made certain measures relating to energy efficiency for ships mandatory. It makes the Energy Efficiency Design Index, or EEDI, applicable to new ships and the Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan, or SEEMP, applicable to all ships.
Amended Annex VI also establishes tiers of stringent nitrogen oxide emissions standards for new marine engines, depending on their date of installation.
Safety Management System Requirements
The IMO also adopted the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, or SOLAS, and the International Convention on Load Lines, or the LL Convention, which impose a variety of standards that regulate the design and operational features of ships. The IMO periodically revises the SOLAS and LL Convention standards. May 2012 SOLAS amendments entered into force as of January 1, 2014.
The operation of the Company’s ships is also affected by the requirements set forth in Chapter IX of SOLAS, which sets forth the IMO’s International Management Code for the Safe Operation of Ships and Pollution Prevention, or the ISM Code. The ISM Code requires ship owners and ship managers to develop and maintain an extensive Safety Management System ("SMS"), that includes the adoption of a safety and environmental protection policy setting forth instructions and procedures for safe operation and describing procedures for dealing with emergencies. The Company relies upon the safety management system that the Company and its technical managers have developed for compliance with the ISM Code. The failure of a ship owner to comply with the ISM Code may subject such party to increased liability, may decrease available insurance coverage for the affected vessels and may result in a denial of access to, or detention in, certain ports. As of the date of this filing, each of its vessels is ISM code-certified.
The ISM Code requires that vessel operators obtain a safety management certificate, or SMC, for each vessel they operate. This certificate evidences compliance by a vessel’s operators with the ISM Code requirements for an SMS. No vessel can obtain an SMC under the ISM Code unless its manager has been awarded a document of compliance, or DOC, issued in most instances by the vessel's flag state. The Company’s appointed ship managers have obtained documents of compliance for their offices and safety management certificates for all of its vessels for which the certificates are required by the IMO. The document of compliance, or the DOC, and ship management certificate, or the SMC, are renewed as required.
The IMO continues to review and introduce new regulations. It is impossible to predict what additional regulations, if any, may be passed by the IMO and what effect, if any, such regulations might have on the Company’s operations.
Pollution Control and Liability Requirements
The IMO has negotiated international conventions that impose liability for pollution in international waters and the territorial waters of the signatories to such conventions. For example, the IMO adopted the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments, or the BWM Convention, in February 2004. The BWM Convention's implementing regulations call for a phased introduction of mandatory ballast water exchange requirements, to be replaced in time with mandatory concentration limits. The BWM Convention entered into force on September 8, 2017 at which time mid-ocean ballast exchange or ballast water treatment systems became mandatory. The Company’s vessels will be required to be equipped with a ballast water treatment system that meets mandatory concentration limits not later than the first intermediate or renewal survey, whichever occurs first, after the anniversary date of delivery of the vessel in 2014, for vessels with ballast water capacity of 1500 – 5000 cubic meters, or after such date in 2016, for vessels with ballast water capacity of greater than 5000 cubic meters. The cost of compliance with these requirements may be material. The Company's newer fleet of Ice-Class vessels were equipped with these systems when delivered from the shipyard.
The IMO adopted the International Convention on Civil Liability for Bunker Oil Pollution Damage, or the Bunker Convention, to impose strict liability on ship owners for pollution damage in jurisdictional waters of ratifying states caused by discharges of bunker fuel. The Bunker Convention requires registered owners of ships over 1,000 gross tons to maintain insurance for pollution damage in an amount equal to the limits of liability under the applicable national or international limitation regime (but not exceeding the amount calculated in accordance with the Convention on Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims of 1976, as amended). With respect to non-ratifying states, liability for spills or releases of oil carried as fuel in ship’s bunkers typically is determined by the national or other domestic laws in the jurisdiction where the events or damages occur.
Noncompliance with the ISM Code or other IMO regulations may subject the Company to increased liability, lead to decreases in available insurance coverage for affected vessels or result in the denial of access to, or detention in, some ports. As of the date of this report, each of the Company’s vessels is ISM Code certified. However, there can be no assurance that such certificate will be maintained.
International Code for Ships Operating in Polar Waters
The IMO in November 2014 adopted the International Code for Ships Operating in Polar Waters (the “Polar Code”), and related amendments to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (“SOLAS”) to make it mandatory.
The date of entry into force of the SOLAS amendments is January 1, 2017, under the tacit acceptance procedure. It will apply to new ships constructed after that date. Ships constructed before January 1, 2017 will be required to meet the relevant requirements of the Polar Code by the first intermediate or renewal survey, whichever occurs first, after January 1, 2018.
The Polar Code will be mandatory under both SOLAS and MARPOL because it contains both safety and environment related provisions. In October 2014, IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (“MEPC”) approved the necessary draft amendments to make the environmental provisions in the Polar Code mandatory under MARPOL. The MEPC adopted the Polar Code and associated MARPOL amendments in May 2015, with an entry-into-force date to be aligned with the SOLAS amendments.
The U.S. Oil Pollution Act of 1990 and Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act
The Oil Pollution Act of 1990, ("OPA"), established an extensive regulatory and liability regime for the protection and cleanup of the environment from oil spills. OPA affects all “owners and operators” whose vessels trade with the United States, its territories and possessions or whose vessels operate in United States waters, which includes the United States’ territorial sea and its 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zone around the United States. The United States has also enacted the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act, or CERCLA, which applies to the discharge of hazardous substances other than oil, whether on land or at sea. OPA and CERCLA both define “owner and operator” in the case of a vessel as any person owning, operating or chartering by demise, the vessel. Both OPA and CERCLA impact the Company’s operations.
Under OPA, vessel owners and operators are “responsible parties” and are jointly, severally and strictly liable (unless the spill results solely from the act or omission of a third party, an act of God or an act of war) for all containment and clean-up costs and other damages arising from discharges or threatened discharges of oil from their vessels. OPA defines these other damages broadly to include:
injury to, destruction or loss of, or loss of use of, natural resources and related assessment costs;
injury to, or economic losses resulting from, the destruction of real and personal property;
net loss of taxes, royalties, rents, fees or net profit revenues resulting from injury, destruction or loss of real or personal property, or natural resources;
loss of subsistence use of natural resources that are injured, destroyed or lost;
lost profits or impairment of earning capacity due to injury, destruction or loss of real or personal property or natural resources; and
net cost of increased or additional public services necessitated by removal activities following a discharge of oil, such as protection from fire, safety or health hazards, and loss of subsistence use of natural resources.
OPA contains statutory caps on liability and damages; such caps do not apply to direct cleanup costs. Effective December 31, 2015, the U.S. Coast Guard adjusted the limits of OPA liability for non-tank vessels (e.g. drybulk) to the greater of $1,100 per gross ton or $939,800 (subject to periodic adjustment for inflation). These limits of liability do not apply if an incident was proximately caused by the violation of an applicable U.S. federal safety, construction or operating regulation by a responsible party (or its agent, employee or a person acting pursuant to a contractual relationship), or a responsible party’s gross negligence or willful misconduct. The limitation on liability similarly does not apply if the responsible party fails or refuses to (i) report the incident where the responsibility party knows or has reason to know of the incident; (ii) reasonably cooperate and assist as requested in connection with oil removal activities; or (iii) without sufficient cause, comply with an order issued under the Federal Water Pollution Act (Section 311 (c), (e)) or the Intervention on the High Seas Act.
CERCLA contains a similar liability regime whereby owners and operators of vessels are liable for cleanup, removal and remedial costs, as well as damages for injury to, or destruction or loss of, natural resources, including the reasonable costs associated with assessing same, and health assessments or health effects studies. There is no liability if the discharge of a hazardous substance results solely from the act or omission of a third party, an act of God or an act of war. Liability under CERCLA is limited to the greater of $300 per gross ton or $5.0 million for vessels carrying a hazardous substance as cargo and the greater of $300 per gross ton or $500,000 for any other vessel. These limits do not apply (rendering the responsible person liable for the total cost of response and damages) if the release or threat of release of a hazardous substance resulted from willful misconduct or negligence, or the primary cause of the release was a violation of applicable safety, construction or operating standards or regulations. The limitation on liability also does not apply if the responsible person fails or refused to provide all reasonable cooperation and assistance as requested in connection with response activities where the vessel is subject to OPA.
OPA and CERCLA both require owners and operators of vessels to establish and maintain with the U.S. Coast Guard evidence of financial responsibility sufficient to meet the maximum amount of liability to which the particular responsible person may be subject. Vessel owners and operators may satisfy their financial responsibility obligations by providing a proof of insurance, a surety bond, qualification as a self-insurer or a guarantee.
Incidents such as the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico may result in additional regulatory initiatives or statutes, including the raising of liability caps under OPA (which were raised on December 31, 2015). Compliance with any new requirements of OPA may substantially impact the Company’s cost of operations or require it to incur additional expenses to comply with any new regulatory initiatives or statutes. Additional legislation or regulations applicable to the operation of its vessels that may be implemented in the future could adversely affect its business.
The Company currently maintains pollution liability coverage insurance in the amount of $1.0 billion per incident for each of the Company’s vessels. If the damages from a catastrophic spill were to exceed the Company’s insurance coverage it could have an adverse effect on its business and results of operation.
OPA specifically permits individual states to impose their own liability regimes with regard to oil pollution incidents occurring within their boundaries, provided they accept, at a minimum, the levels of liability established under OPA and some states have enacted legislation providing for unlimited liability for oil spills. In some cases, states which have enacted such legislation have not yet issued implementing regulations defining vessel owners’ responsibilities under these laws. The Company intends to comply with all applicable state regulations in the ports where its vessels call. The Company believes that it is in substantial compliance with all applicable existing state requirements. In addition, the Company intends to comply with all future applicable state regulations in the ports where its vessels call.
Other Environmental Initiatives
The U.S. Clean Water Act, or CWA, prohibits the discharge of oil, hazardous substances and ballast water in U.S. navigable waters unless authorized by a duly-issued permit or exemption, and imposes strict liability in the form of penalties for any unauthorized discharges. The CWA also imposes substantial liability for the costs of removal, remediation and damages, and complements the remedies available under OPA and CERCLA. Furthermore, many U.S. states that border a navigable waterway have enacted environmental pollution laws that impose strict liability on a person for removal costs and damages resulting from a discharge of oil or a release of a hazardous substance. These laws may be more stringent than U.S. federal law.
The EPA and the USCG have also enacted rules relating to ballast water discharge, compliance with which requires the installation of equipment on our vessels to treat ballast water before it is discharged or the implementation of other port facility disposal arrangements or procedures at potentially substantial costs, and/or otherwise restrict our vessels from entering U.S. Waters. The EPA will regulate these ballast water discharges and other discharges incidental to the normal operation of certain vessels within United States waters pursuant to the Vessel Incidental Discharge Act (“VIDA”), which was signed into law on December 4, 2018 and replaces the 2013 Vessel General Permit (“VGP”) program (which authorizes discharges incidental to operations of commercial vessels and contains numeric ballast water discharge limits for most vessels to reduce the risk of invasive species in U.S. waters, stringent requirements for exhaust gas scrubbers, and requirements for the use of environmentally acceptable lubricants) and current Coast Guard ballast water management regulations adopted under the U.S. National Invasive Species Act (“NISA”), such as mid-ocean ballast exchange programs and installation of approved USCG technology for all vessels equipped with ballast water tanks bound for U.S. ports or entering U.S. waters. VIDA establishes a new framework for the regulation of vessel incidental discharges under Clean Water Act (CWA), requires the EPA to develop performance standards for those discharges within two years of enactment, and requires the U.S. Coast Guard to develop implementation, compliance, and enforcement regulations within two years of EPA’s promulgation of standards. Under VIDA, all provisions of the 2013 VGP and USCG regulations regarding ballast water treatment remain in force and effect until the EPA and U.S. Coast Guard regulations are finalized. Non-military, non-recreational vessels greater than 79 feet in length must continue to comply with the requirements of the VGP, including submission of a Notice of Intent (“NOI”) or retention of a PARI form and submission of annual reports. We have submitted NOIs for our vessels where required. Compliance with the EPA, U.S. Coast Guard and state regulations could require the installation of ballast water treatment equipment on our vessels or the implementation of other port facility disposal procedures at potentially substantial cost, or may otherwise restrict our vessels from entering U.S. waters.
European Union Regulations
In October 2009, the European Union amended a directive to impose criminal sanctions for illicit ship-source discharges of polluting substances, including minor discharges, if committed with intent, recklessly or with serious negligence and the discharges, individually or in the aggregate, result in deterioration of the quality of water. Aiding and abetting the discharge of a polluting substance may also lead to criminal penalties. Member States were required to enact laws or regulations to comply with the directive by the end of 2010. Criminal liability for pollution may result in substantial penalties or fines and increased civil liability claims. The directive applies to all types of vessels, irrespective of their flag, but certain exceptions apply to warships or where human safety or that of the ship is in danger.
The European Union has adopted several regulations and directives requiring, among other things, more frequent inspections of high-risk ships, as determined by type, age, and flag as well as the number of times the ship has been detained. The European Union also adopted and then extended a ban on substandard ships and enacted a minimum ban period and a definitive ban for repeated offenses. The regulation also provided the European Union with greater authority and control over classification societies, by imposing more requirements on classification societies and providing for fines or penalty payments for organizations that failed to comply.
With effect from January 1, 2010, Directive 2005/33/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of July 6, 2005, amending Directive 1999/32/EC came into force. The objective of the directive is to reduce emission of sulfur dioxide and particulate matter caused by the combustion of certain petroleum derived fuels.
The directive imposes limits on the sulfur content of such fuels as a condition of their use within a Member State territory. The maximum sulfur content for marine fuels used by inland waterway vessels and ships at berth in ports in EU countries after January 1, 2010, is 0.1% by mass. As of January 1, 2015, all vessels operating within ECAs, worldwide must comply with 0.1% sulfur requirements. Currently, the only grade of fuel meeting 0.1% sulfur content requirement is low sulfur marine gas oil, or LSMGO. As of July 1, 2010, the reduction of applicable sulfur content limits in the North Sea, the Baltic Sea and the English Channel Sulfur Control Areas is 0.1%. The Company does not expect that it will be required to modify any of its vessels to meet any of the foregoing low sulfur fuel requirements. On July 15, 2011, the European Commission also adopted a proposal for an
amendment to Directive 1999/32/EC which would align requirements with those imposed by the revised MARPOL Annex VI which introduced stricter sulfur limits.
Greenhouse Gas Regulation
In July 2011, MEPC adopted two new sets of mandatory requirements to address greenhouse gas emissions from ships, which entered into force in January 2013. Currently operating ships are required to have a Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan ("SEEMP") on board, and minimum energy efficiency levels per capacity mile, outlined in the Energy Efficiency Design Index ("EEDI"), apply to new ships. These requirements could cause the Company to incur additional compliance costs. The European Union has indicated that it intends to propose an expansion of the existing European Union emissions trading scheme to include emissions of greenhouse gases from marine vessels, and in January 2012 the European Commission launched a public consultation on possible measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from ships. In the United States, the EPA has issued a finding that greenhouse gases endanger the public health and safety and has adopted regulations to limit greenhouse gas emissions from certain mobile sources and large stationary sources. Although the mobile source emissions regulations do not apply to greenhouse gas emissions from vessels, such regulation of vessels is foreseeable, and the EPA has in recent years received petitions from the California Attorney General and various environmental groups seeking such regulation. Any passage of climate control legislation or other regulatory initiatives by the IMO, European Union, the U.S. or other countries where the Company operates, or any treaty adopted at the international level to succeed the Kyoto Protocol, that restrict emissions of greenhouse gases could require the Company to make significant financial expenditures which the Company cannot predict with certainty at this time.
Vessel Security Regulations
Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 in the United States, there have been a variety of initiatives intended to enhance vessel security such as the Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002, or MTSA. To implement certain portions of the MTSA, in July 2003, the U.S. Coast Guard issued regulations requiring the implementation of certain security requirements aboard vessels operating in waters subject to the jurisdiction of the United States. The regulations also impose requirements on certain ports and facilities, some of which are regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, or the EPA.
Similarly, in December 2002, amendments to SOLAS created a new chapter of the convention dealing specifically with maritime security. The new Chapter V became effective in July 2004 and imposes various detailed security obligations on vessels and port authorities, and mandates compliance with the International Ship and Port Facilities Security Code, or the ISPS Code. The ISPS Code is designed to enhance the security of ports and ships against terrorism. To trade internationally, a vessel must attain an International Ship Security Certificate, or ISSC, from a recognized security organization approved by the vessel’s flag state. Among the various requirements are:
on-board installation of automatic identification systems to provide a means for the automatic transmission of safety-related information from among similarly equipped ships and shore stations, including information on a ship’s identity, position, course, speed and navigational status;
on-board installation of ship security alert systems, which do not sound on the vessel but only alert the authorities on shore;
the development of vessel security plans;
ship identification number to be permanently marked on a vessel’s hull;
a continuous synopsis record kept onboard showing a vessel’s history including the name of the ship, the state whose flag the ship is entitled to fly, the date on which the ship was registered with that state, the ship’s identification number, the port at which the ship is registered and the name of the registered owner(s) and their registered address; and
compliance with flag state security certification requirements.
Ships operating without a valid certificate may be detained at port until it obtains an ISSC, or it may be expelled from port, or refused entry at port.
Furthermore, additional security measures could be required in the future which could have a significant financial impact on the Company. The U.S. Coast Guard regulations, intended to be aligned with international maritime security standards, exempt non-U.S. vessels from MTSA vessel security measures, provided such vessels have on board a valid ISSC that attests to the vessel's compliance with SOLAS security requirements and the ISPS Code.
The Company intends to implement the various security measures addressed by MTSA, SOLAS and the ISPS Code, and the Company intends that its fleet will comply with applicable security requirements. The Company has implemented the various security measures addressed by the MTSA, SOLAS and the ISPS Code.
International Labor Organization
The International Labor Organization (ILO) is a specialized agency of the UN with headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. The ILO has adopted the Maritime Labor Convention 2006, or MLC 2006. A Maritime Labor Certificate and a Declaration of Maritime Labor Compliance is required to ensure compliance with the MLC 2006 for all ships above 500 gross tons in international trade. The MLC 2006 entered into force on August 20, 2013. Amendments to MLC 2006 entered into force on January 18, 2017. Ships that are subject to the MLC will, after this date, be required to display certificates issued by an insurer or other financial security provider confirming that insurance or other financial security is in place for the cost and expense of crew repatriation, as well as up to four months contractually entitled arrears of wages and entitlements following abandonment. Amendments also require a certificate for liabilities for contractual claims arising from seafarer personal injury, disability or death. The Company’s vessels are in full compliance with its requirements.
Inspection by Classification Societies
Every oceangoing vessel must be “classed” by a classification society. The classification society certifies that the vessel is “in class,” signifying that the vessel has been built and maintained in accordance with the rules of the classification society and complies with applicable rules and regulations of the vessel's country of registry and the international conventions of which that country is a member. In addition, where surveys are required by international conventions and corresponding laws and ordinances of a flag state, the classification society will undertake them on application or by official order, acting on behalf of the authorities concerned.
The classification society also undertakes, as requested, other surveys that may be required by the vessel's flag state. These surveys are subject to agreements made with the vessel owner and/or to the regulations of the country concerned.
For maintenance of the class certification, annual, intermediate and special surveys of hull and machinery, including the electrical plant, and any special equipment, are required to be performed as follows:
Annual Surveys: For seagoing ships, annual surveys are conducted within three months, before or after each anniversary of the class period indicated in the certificate.
Intermediate Surveys: Extended surveys are referred to as intermediate surveys and are typically conducted two and one-half years after commissioning, and two and one-half years after each class renewal. Intermediate surveys are to be carried out at or between the occasion of the second or third annual survey.
Class Renewal Surveys: Class renewal surveys, also known as special surveys, are carried out at the intervals indicated by the character of classification for the hull. At the special survey, the vessel is thoroughly examined, including audio-gauging to determine the thickness of the steel structures. If the steel thickness is found to be less than class requirements, the classification society would prescribe steel renewals which require drydocking of the vessel. The classification society may grant a one-year grace period for completion of the special survey. Substantial costs may be incurred for steel renewal in order to pass a special survey if the vessel experiences excessive wear and tear. In lieu of the special survey every four or five years, depending on whether a grace period was granted, a shipowner has the option of arranging with the classification society for the vessel’s hull or machinery to be on a continuous survey cycle, in which case every part of the vessel would be surveyed on a continuous five-year cycle. This process is referred to as continuous class renewal.
All areas subject to survey, as defined by the classification society, are required to be surveyed at least once per class period unless shorter intervals between surveys are prescribed elsewhere. The period between two subsequent surveys of each area must not exceed five years.
Most vessels undergo regulatory inspection of the underwater parts every 30 to 36 months. If any defects are found, the classification surveyor will issue a recommendation which must be rectified by the ship owner within prescribed time limits.
The Company expects to perform five special survey in 2020 at an aggregate total cost of approximately $5.7 million. The Company expects to perform three intermediate surveys in 2020 at an aggregate total cost of approximately $1.5 million. The Company estimates that offhire related to the surveys and related repair work is ten to twenty days per vessel, depending on the size and condition of the vessel.
Most insurance underwriters make it a condition for insurance coverage that a vessel be certified as “in class” by a classification society which is a member of the International Association of Classification Societies. All of the Company’s vessels are certified by Det Norske Veritas, Nippon Kaiji Kiokai or Bureau Veritas. All new and second-hand vessels that the Company purchases must be certified prior to delivery under its standard purchase contracts, referred to as the memorandum of agreement. Certification of second-hand vessels must be verified by a Class Maintenance Certificate issued within 72 hours prior to delivery. If the vessel is not certified on the date of closing, the Company has the option to cancel the agreement on the basis of Seller’s default, and not take delivery of the vessel.
Risk of Loss and Insurance
The operation of any dry bulk vessel includes risks such as mechanical failure, collision, property loss, cargo loss or damage, and business interruption due to political circumstances in foreign countries, hostilities and labor strikes. In addition, there is an inherent possibility of marine disaster, including oil spills (e.g. fuel oil) and other environmental incidents, and the liabilities arising from owning and operating vessels in international trade. OPA, which imposes virtually unlimited liability for certain oil pollution accidents upon owners, operators and demise charterers of vessels trading in the United States exclusive economic zone, has made liability insurance more expensive for ship owners and operators trading in the U.S. market.
The Company maintains hull and machinery insurance, war risks insurance, protection and indemnity cover and freight, demurrage and defense cover for its owned fleet at amounts it believes address the normal risks of its operations. The Company may not be able to maintain this level of coverage throughout a vessel’s useful life. Furthermore, while the Company believes that its current insurance coverage is adequate, not all risks can be insured, and there can be no guarantee that any specific claim will be paid, or that the Company will always be able to obtain adequate insurance coverage at reasonable rates.
Hull & Machinery and War Risks Insurance
The Company maintains marine hull and machinery and war risks insurances, which cover the risk of actual or constructive total loss, for all of its vessels. Vessels are insured for their fair market value, at a minimum, with a deductible of $100,000 per vessel per incident.
Protection and Indemnity Insurance
Protection and indemnity insurance is a form of mutual indemnity insurance provided by mutual protection and indemnity associations, or P&I Associations, which insure the Company’s third party liabilities in connection with its shipping activities. This includes third-party liability and other related expenses resulting from the injury, illness or death of crew, passengers and other third parties, the loss or damage to cargo, claims arising from collisions with other vessels, damage to other third-party property, pollution arising from oil or other substances and salvage, towing and other related costs, including wreck removal. Subject to the “capping” discussed below, the Company’s coverage, except for pollution, is unlimited.
The Company’s current protection and indemnity insurance coverage for pollution is $1.0 billion per vessel per incident. The thirteen P&I Associations that comprise the International Group insure approximately 90% of the world’s commercial tonnage and have entered into a pooling agreement to reinsure each association’s liabilities. As a member of a P&I Association, which is a member of the International Group, the Company is subject to calls payable to the associations based on the group’s claim records as well as the claim records of all other members of the individual associations and members of the pool of P&I Associations comprising the International Group.
The Company is an exempted company organized under the Bermuda Companies Act. The Bermuda Companies Act differs in some material respects from laws generally applicable to United States companies and their stockholders. However, a general permission issued by the Bermuda Monetary Authority, ("BMA"), results in the Company’s common shares being freely transferable among persons who are residents and non-residents of Bermuda. Each shareholder, whether a resident or non-resident of Bermuda, is entitled to one vote for each share of stock held by the shareholder.
Although the Company is incorporated in Bermuda, the Company is classified as a non-resident of Bermuda for exchange control purposes by the BMA. Other than transferring Bermuda Dollars out of Bermuda, there are no restrictions on its ability to
transfer funds into and out of Bermuda or to pay dividends in currency other than Bermuda Dollars to U.S. residents (or other non-residents of Bermuda) who are holders of its common shares.
In accordance with Bermuda law, share certificates may be issued only in the names of corporations, individuals or legal persons. In the case of an applicant acting in a special capacity (for example, as an executor or trustee), certificates may, at the request of the applicant, record the capacity in which the applicant is acting. Notwithstanding the recording of any such special capacity, the Company is not bound to investigate or incur any responsibility in respect of the proper administration of any such estate or trust.
The Company will take no notice of any trust applicable to any of its shares or other securities whether or not the Company had notice of such trust.
INDUSTRY AND MARKET CONDITIONS
Ocean going vessels represent the most efficient and often the only means of transporting large volumes of dry cargo over long distances. Dry bulk cargo includes both major and lesser commodities such as coal, iron ore, grain, bauxite, cement clinker, and limestone. Dry bulk trade is influenced by the underlying demand for the dry bulk commodities which in turn is influenced by the level of global economic activity.
The world’s fleet of vessels dedicated to carrying dry bulk cargoes is traditionally divided into six major categories, based on a vessel’s cargo carrying capacity. These categories are: Handysize, Supramax, Ultramax, Panamax, Capesize and Very Large Ore Carrier. Certain routes and geographies are less accessible to certain vessel sizes. For example, Panamax and Supramax vessels are the main dry bulk vessel types deployed in the Baltic due to draft restrictions. Similarly, these vessels tend to be deployed on the Northern Sea Route (NSR) along the coast of Russia.
Dry bulk vessels are employed through a number of different chartering options. The most common are time charters, spot charters, and voyage charters. Historically, charter rates have been volatile as they are driven by the underlying balance between vessel supply and demand. Ice class vessels, when operating in ice-bound areas, usually command a rate premium to conventional trades.
Dry Bulk Shipping — the Main Participants
In the dry bulk shipping industry there are multiple functions, with individual parties carrying out one or more of such functions. In general, the principal functions within dry bulk shipping are as follows:
Ship Owner or Registered Owner — Generally, this is an entity retaining the legal title of ownership over a vessel.
Ship Operator — Generally, this is an entity seeking to generate profit either through the chartering of ships (owned or chartered-in) to others, or from the transportation of cargoes. Entities focusing on the transportation of cargoes may engage in chartering of ships to other entities, but those companies focusing on chartering ships to other entities rarely act to carry cargoes for customers.
Shipmanager/Commercial Manager — This is an entity designated to be responsible for the day to day commercial management of the ship and the best contact for the ship regarding commercial matters, including post fixture responsibilities, such as laytime, demurrage, insurance and charter clauses. These companies undertake the activities of ship operators but, unlike a ship operator, they do not own or charter-in the vessels at their own risk.
Technical Manager — This is an entity specifically responsible for the technical operation and technical superintendence of a ship. This company may also be responsible for hiring, training and supervising ship officers and crew, and for all aspects of the day to day operation of the fleet, including repair work, spare parts inventory, re-engineering, surveys and dry-docking.
Cargo Owner — This is normally a producer (e.g., a miner), consumer (e.g., a steel mill) or trading house who requires transportation of cargo by a cargo focused ship operator.
The Company participates in each of these capacities with the exception of cargo owner.
The Freight Market
Dry bulk vessels are employed in the market through a number of different chartering options. The general terms typically found in these types of contracts are described below.
Time Charter. A charter under which the vessel owner or operator is paid charterhire on a per-day basis for a specified period of time. Typically, the shipowner receives semi-monthly charterhire payments on a U.S. dollar-per-day basis and is responsible for providing the crew and paying vessel operating expenses, while the charterer is responsible for paying the voyage expenses and additional voyage insurance. The ship owner is also responsible for the vessel’s intermediate and special survey (heavy mandatory maintenance) costs. Under time charters, including trip charters, the charterer pays all voyage expenses including port, canal and bunker (fuel) costs.
Trip Charter. A time charter for a trip to carry a specific cargo from a load port to a discharge port at a set daily rate.
Voyage Charter. A charter to carry a specific amount and type of cargo on a load-port to discharge-port basis, subject to various cargo handling terms. Most of these charters are of a single voyage nature, as trading patterns do not encourage round trip voyage trading. The ship operator receives payment based on a price per ton of cargo loaded on board the vessel. The ship operator is responsible for the payment of all voyage expenses, as well as the costs of owning or hiring the vessel.
Contract of Affreightment. A contract of affreightment, or COA, relates to the carriage of multiple cargoes over the same route and enables the service provider to nominate different vessels to perform the individual voyages. Essentially, it constitutes a series of voyage charters to carry a specified amount of cargo during the term of the CoA, which usually spans a number of months or years. Freight normally is agreed on a U.S. dollar-per-ton carried basis with bunker cost escalation or de-escalation adjustments.
Bareboat Charter. A bareboat charter involves the use of a vessel, usually over longer periods of time (several years). In this case, all voyage expenses and vessel operating expenses, including maintenance, crewing and insurance, are paid for by the charterer. The owner of the vessel receives monthly charterhire payments on a U.S. dollar per day basis and is responsible only for the payment of capital costs related to the vessel. A bareboat charter is also known as a “demise charter” or a “time charter by demise.”
The Company employs its vessels under each type of contract listed above.
In the time charter (period) market, rates vary depending on the length of the charter period and vessel specific factors such as age, speed, size and fuel consumption. In the voyage charter market, rates are influenced by cargo size, commodity, port dues and canal transit fees, as well as delivery and redelivery regions. In general, a larger cargo size is quoted at a lower rate per ton than a smaller cargo size. Routes with costly ports or canals generally command higher rates. Voyages loading from a port where vessels usually discharge cargo, or discharging at a port where vessels usually load cargo, are generally quoted at lower rates. These voyages are known as “backhaul” voyages.
In some cases, charters will include an additional payment known as a ballast bonus. A ballast bonus is a lump sum payment made to a shipowner or operator (by the charterer) as compensation for delivering a ship in a particular loading region of the world. For a ship to enter a loading region, an empty (ballast) leg may be required because there are no inbound cargoes. The ballast bonus should reflect the cost of the empty ballast in terms of time and fuel. A typical fixture that involves a ballast bonus might be expressed as “freight hire of $10,000 per day, plus a ballast bonus of $100,000 lump sum”.
Within the dry bulk shipping industry, the freight rate indices issued by the Baltic Exchange in London are the references most likely to be monitored. These references are based on actual charter hire rates under charters entered into by market participants as well as daily assessments provided to the Baltic Exchange by a panel of major shipbrokers. The Baltic Exchange, an independent organization comprised of shipbrokers, shipping companies and other shipping players, provides daily independent shipping market information and has created freight rate indices reflecting the average freight rates for the major bulk vessel trading routes. The Baltic Dry Index ("BDI"), is a composite of the Capesize, Panamax and Supramax timecharter averages. It is considered a proxy for dry bulk shipping stocks as well as a general shipping market bellwether.
Dry Bulk Trades Requiring Ice Class Tonnage
Ice class vessels are required to serve ports accessed by routes crossing seasonal or year-round ice-covered oceans, lakes, seas or rivers. Ice class vessels are mainly deployed in the Baltic Sea, the Northern Sea Route (NSR) and the Great Lakes/St. Lawrence Seaway. These regions have experienced strong trade growth in dry bulk cargoes, driven in particular by increased mining activities supported by strong commodity demand in Asia, decreased level of ice, and technology advancement in shipping. However, the NSR experienced a steep drop in tons of cargo transported and has remained low due to low fuel prices, which made the NSR less attractive. Cargo traffic to and from Russian ports is expected to increase in the coming years, mainly representing supplies and cargo for new industrial projects.
ITEM 1A. RISK FACTORS
An investment in our securities involves a high degree of risk. You should consider carefully the material risks described below, which we believe represent the material risks related to our business and our securities, together with the other information contained in this Form 10-K, before making a decision to invest in our securities. This Form 10-K also contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. In connection with such forward looking statements, you should also carefully review the cautionary statements referred to under “Special Note Regarding Forward Looking Statements.” Our actual results could differ materially from those anticipated in the forward-looking statements as a result of specific factors, including the risks described below.
Risks Relating to the Company’s Industry
The cyclical and volatile nature of the seaborne drybulk transportation industry may lead to decreases in charter and freight rates, which may have an adverse effect on the Company’s revenues, earnings and profitability and its ability to comply with its loan covenants. The market improved in 2019 due to increased demand from China and fewer newbuilding deliveries, which constrict the supply of tonnage and inflate rates. Going forward, rising protectionism and uncertainty concerning a trade war over tariffs may dampen growth in demand for some products, however, some analysts predict volumes will not change and may increase tonne-miles by disrupting historical trade patterns.
The seaborne drybulk transportation industry is cyclical and volatile, and a lengthy downturn in the drybulk charter market severely affected the entire drybulk shipping industry. Although rates increased in 2019, there can be no assurance that drybulk charter rates will continue to increase, and rates could decline. Volatility of charter and freight rates is due to various factors, including changing crude oil prices, economic activity in the largest economies, including China, a strong U.S. Dollar and the associated weakening of other world currencies and the supply of available tonnage.
Although our operating fleet is primarily chartered-in on a short term basis and lower charter rates result in lower charter hire costs, changes in charter and freight rates in the drybulk market affect vessel values and earnings on our owned fleet, and may affect our cash flows, liquidity and ability to comply with the financial covenants in our loan agreements. Another extended downturn in the drybulk carrier market may have adverse consequences. The value of our common shares could be substantially reduced under these circumstances.
We employ our vessels under a mix of voyage charters and time charters and COA’s which typically extend for varying lengths of time, from one month to ten years. As a result, we are exposed to changes in market rates for drybulk carriers and such changes may affect our earnings and the value of our owned drybulk carriers at any given time. A COA relates to the carriage of multiple cargoes over the same route and enables the COA holder to nominate different vessels to perform individual voyages. We may not be able to successfully employ our vessels in the future or renew existing contracts at rates sufficient to allow us to meet our obligations. We are also exposed to volatility in the market rates we pay to charter-in vessels. Fluctuations in charter and freight rates result from changes in the supply of and demand for vessel capacity and changes in the demand for seaborne carriage of commodities. 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.
Factors that influence demand for vessel capacity include:
supply of and demand for energy resources, commodities, semi-finished and finished consumer and industrial products;
changes in the exploration or production of energy resources, commodities, semi-finished and finished consumer and industrial products;
the location of regional and global exploration, production and manufacturing facilities;
the location of consuming regions for energy resources, commodities, semi-finished and finished consumer and industrial products;
the globalization of production and manufacturing;
global and regional economic and political conditions, including armed conflicts, terrorist activities, embargoes and strikes;
natural disasters and other disruptions in international trade;
developments in international trade;
changes in seaborne and other transportation patterns, including the distance cargo is transported by sea;
environmental and other regulatory developments;
currency exchange rates;
bunker (fuel) prices; and
Demand for our vessels is dependent upon economic growth in the world’s economies, seasonal and regional changes in demand, changes in the capacity of the global drybulk fleet and the sources and supply of drybulk cargo transported by sea. Given the large number of new drybulk vessels currently on order with shipyards, the capacity of the global drybulk vessels fleet seems likely to increase and economic growth may not resume in areas that have experienced a recession or continue in other areas. As such, adverse economic, political, social or other developments could have a material adverse effect on our business and operating results.
The factors that influence the supply of vessel capacity include:
the number of newbuilding deliveries;
port and canal congestion;
the scrapping rate of older vessels;
speed of vessels being operated; and
the number of vessels that are out of service.
In addition to the prevailing and anticipated charter and freight rates, factors that affect the rate of newbuilding, scrapping and laying-up include newbuilding prices, secondhand vessel values in relation to scrap prices, costs of bunker fuels and other operating costs, costs associated with classification society surveys, normal maintenance and insurance coverage, 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 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 and our logistics services will be dependent upon economic growth in world economies and its associated industrial production, seasonal and regional changes in demand, changes in the capacity of the global drybulk carrier fleet and the sources and supply of drybulk cargoes to be transported by sea.
Global economic conditions may continue to negatively impact the drybulk shipping industry.
In the current global economy, operating businesses are faced with tightening credit, weak demand for goods and services, and weak international liquidity conditions. There has similarly been a general decline in the willingness by banks and other financial institutions to extend credit, particularly in the shipping industry, due to the historically volatile asset values of vessels. As the shipping industry is highly dependent on the availability of credit to finance and expand operations, it has been negatively affected by this decline. In particular, lower demand for drybulk cargoes as well as diminished trade credit available for the delivery of such cargoes have led to decreased demand for drybulk vessels, creating downward pressure on charter rates and vessel values. Any further weakening in global economic conditions may have 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 vessels 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, results of operations, cash flows and financial condition.
An increase in interest rates could adversely affect our cash flow and financial condition.
We are also subject to market risks relating to changes in LIBOR rates because we have significant amounts of floating rate debt outstanding. Moreover, in the recent past, concerns have been publicized that some of the member banks surveyed by the British Bankers’ Association (“BBA”) in connection with the calculation of LIBOR may have been underreporting or otherwise manipulating the inter-bank lending rate applicable to them. A number of BBA member banks entered into settlements with their regulators and law enforcement agencies with respect to alleged LIBOR manipulation, and investigations by regulators and governmental authorities in various jurisdictions are ongoing. In addition, on July 27, 2017, the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority announced that it intends to stop persuading or compelling banks to submit LIBOR rates after 2021. It is not currently possible to predict the effect of any establishment of alternative reference rates or any other reforms to LIBOR that may be enacted in the United Kingdom or elsewhere. If LIBOR or any alternative reference rate were to increase significantly, the amount of interest payable on our outstanding indebtedness could increase significantly and could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, cash flows, financial condition and ability to pay dividends.
Any change in drybulk carrier capacity in the future may result in lower charter and freight rates which, in turn, will adversely affect our profitability.
Newbuilding activity increased dramatically in 2017 and over $10 billion was committed in the first quarter of 2018, but enthusiasm for newbuild orders began to wane in the second quarter. The recent increase in scrapping of vintage tonnage suggests the dry bulk fleet as a whole may grow at a slower pace than demand.
The market values of our owned vessels may decrease, which could limit the amount of funds that we can borrow or cause us to breach certain covenants in our credit facilities and we may incur impairment or a loss if we sell vessels following a decline in their market value.
The fair market values of our owned vessels have generally experienced high volatility, and you should expect the market values of our vessels to fluctuate depending on a number of factors including:
prevailing level of charter and freight rates;
general economic and market conditions affecting the shipping industry;
types and sizes of vessels;
supply of and demand for vessels;
other modes of transportation;
cost of newbuildings;
governmental and other regulations; and
In addition, as vessels grow older, they generally decline in value. If the market values of our owned vessels decrease, we may not be in compliance with certain covenants in our credit facilities secured by mortgages on our drybulk vessels unless we provide additional collateral or prepay a portion of the loan to a level where we are again in compliance with our loan covenants. The Company was in compliance with all of its covenants for the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2018.
If we sell one or more of our vessels at a time when vessel prices have fallen and before we have recorded an impairment adjustment to our consolidated financial statements, the sale proceeds may be less than the vessel’s carrying amount, resulting in a loss and a reduction in earnings.
The carrying amounts of vessels held and used by us are reviewed for potential impairment when events or changes in circumstances indicate that the carrying amount of a particular vessel may not be fully recoverable. In such instances, an impairment charge would be recognized if the estimate of the undiscounted future cash flows expected to result from the use of the vessel and its eventual disposition is less than the vessel’s carrying amount. This assessment is made at the asset group level which represents the lowest level for which identifiable cash flows are largely independent of other groups of assets. The asset groups are defined by vessel size and classification.
The Company has relied on financial support from its founders and investors through related party loans, which may not be available to the Company in the future.
From time to time, we have obtained loans from our founders, Edward Coll, Anthony Laura, and Lagoa Investments, an entity beneficially owned by Claus Boggild, to meet vessel purchase, newbuilding deposit, and other obligations of the Company. These loans may not be available to the Company in the future. Even if we are able to borrow money from such parties, such borrowing could create a conflict of interest of management to the extent they also act as lenders to the Company.
The state of the global financial markets and economic conditions may adversely impact our ability to obtain additional financing on acceptable terms and otherwise negatively impact our business.
Global financial markets can be volatile and contraction in available credit may happen as economic conditions change. In recent years, operating businesses in the global economy have faced weakening demand for goods and services, deteriorating international liquidity conditions, and declining markets which lead to a general decline in the willingness of banks and other financial institutions to extend credit, particularly in the shipping industry. As the shipping industry is highly dependent on the availability of credit to finance and expand operations, it may be negatively affected by such changes and volatility.
Also, as a result of concerns about the stability of financial markets generally, and the solvency of counterparties specifically, the cost of obtaining money from the credit markets may increase if lenders increase interest rates, enact tighter lending standards, refuse to refinance existing debt at all or on terms similar to current debt, and reduce, or cease to provide funding to borrowers. Due to these factors, additional financing may not be available to the extent required, on acceptable terms or at all. If additional financing is not available when needed, or is available only on unfavorable terms, we may be unable to expand or meet our obligations as they come due or we may be unable to enhance our existing business, complete additional vessel acquisitions or otherwise take advantage of business opportunities as they arise.
World events could affect our operations and financial results.
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, instability and other recent developments in the Middle East and elsewhere, and the presence of U.S. or other armed forces in Afghanistan and Syria, 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. Any of these occurrences could have a material adverse impact on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
We face risks attendant to changes in economic and regulatory conditions around the world.
We face risks attendant to changes in economic environments, changes in interest rates, instability in the banking and securities markets and trade regulations around the world, among other factors. Major market disruptions and adverse changes in market conditions and regulatory climate in China, the United States and worldwide may adversely affect our business or impair our ability to borrow amounts under any future financial arrangements.
For example, the economic slowdown in the Asia-Pacific region, especially in China, could negatively affect global economic markets and the market for drybulk shipping. Chinese drybulk imports have accounted for the majority of global drybulk transportation growth annually over the last decade, with recent demand growth driven by stronger iron ore and coal imports into China. Before the global economic financial crisis that began in 2008, China had one of the world’s fastest growing economies in terms of gross domestic product, or GDP, which had a significant impact on shipping demand. The growth rate of China’s GDP for the year ended December 31, 2019, was 6.1%, down from a growth rate of 6.6% for the year ended December 31, 2018, but remaining well below pre-2008 levels. China and other countries in the Asia Pacific region may continue to experience slowed or even negative economic growth in the future. Our financial condition and results of operations, as well as our future prospects, would likely be hindered by a continuing or worsening economic downturn in any of these countries or geographic regions. Furthermore, there is a rising threat of a Chinese financial crisis resulting from massive personal and corporate indebtedness and “trade wars”. The International Monetary Fund has warned that continuing trade tensions, including significant tariff increases, between the United States and China are expected to result in a 0.8% cumulative reduction of global GDP in 2020. We cannot assure you that the Chinese economy will not experience a significant contraction in the future.
The United States, the European Union and other parts of the world have likewise experienced relatively slow growth and weak economic trends since 2008. Over the past several years, the credit markets in the United States and Europe have remained contracted, deleveraged and less liquid, and the U.S. federal and state governments and European authorities have implemented governmental action and/or new regulation of the financial markets and may implement additional regulations in the future. While credit conditions are beginning to stabilize, global financial markets have been, and continue to be, disrupted and volatile. Specifically, concerns persist regarding the debt burden of certain European countries and their ability to meet future financial obligations. Potential adverse developments in the outlook for European countries, or market perceptions concerning these and
related issues, could reduce the overall demand for drybulk cargoes and for our service, which could negatively affect our financial position, results of operations and cash flow.
Further, governments may turn to trade barriers to protect their domestic industries against foreign imports, thereby depressing shipping demand. In particular, leaders in the United States have indicated the United States may seek to implement more protective trade measures. The current U.S. President was elected on a platform promoting trade protectionism. The results of the presidential election have thus created significant uncertainty about the future relationship between the United States and China and other exporting countries, including with respect to trade policies, treaties, government regulations and tariffs. On January 23, 2017, the U.S. President signed an executive order withdrawing the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a global trade agreement intended to include the United States, Canada, Mexico, Peru and a number of Asian countries. Protectionist developments, or the perception they may occur, may have a material adverse effect on global economic conditions, and may significantly reduce global trade. Moreover, increasing trade protectionism may cause an increase in (i) the cost of goods exported from regions globally, particularly the Asia-Pacific region, (ii) the length of time required to transport goods and (iii) the risks associated with exporting goods. Such increases may significantly affect the quantity of goods to be shipped, shipping time schedules, voyage costs and other associated costs.
While global economic conditions have generally improved, renewed adverse and developing economic and governmental factors, together with the concurrent volatility in charter rates and vessel values, may have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, financial condition and cash flows and could cause the price of our common shares to decline. An extended period of deterioration in the outlook for the world economy could reduce the overall demand for our services and could also adversely affect our ability to obtain financing on acceptable terms or at all.
Changes in the economic and political environment in China and policies adopted by the government to regulate its economy may have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
The Chinese economy differs from the economies of western countries in such respects as structure, government involvement, level of development, growth rate, capital reinvestment, allocation of resources, bank regulation, currency and monetary policy, rate of inflation and balance of payments position. Prior to 1978, the Chinese economy was a “planned economy”. Since 1978, increasing emphasis has been placed on the utilization of market forces in the development of the Chinese economy. Annual and five-year State Plans are adopted by the Chinese government in connection with the development of the economy. Although state-owned enterprises still account for a substantial portion of the Chinese industrial output, in general, the Chinese government is reducing the level of direct control that it exercises over the economy through State Plans and other measures. There is an increasing level of freedom and autonomy in areas such as allocation of resources, production, pricing and management and a gradual shift in emphasis to a “market economy” and enterprise reform. Limited price reforms were undertaken with the result that prices for certain commodities are principally determined by market forces. In addition, economic reforms may include reforms to the banking and credit sector and may produce a shift away from the export-driven growth model that has characterized the Chinese economy over the past few decades. Many of the reforms are unprecedented or experimental and may be subject to revision, change or abolition based upon the outcome of such experiments. The level of imports to and exports from China could be adversely affected by the failure to continue market reforms or changes to existing pro-export economic policies. The level of imports to and exports from China may also be adversely affected by changes in political, economic and social conditions (including a slowing of economic growth) or other relevant policies of the Chinese government, such as changes in laws, regulations or export and import restrictions, internal political instability, changes in currency policies, changes in trade policies and territorial or trade disputes. A decrease in the level of imports to and exports from China could adversely affect our business, operating results and financial condition.
We may not be able to obtain financing on acceptable terms, which may negatively impact our planned growth.
As a result of concerns about the stability of financial markets generally and the solvency of counterparties specifically, the ability to obtain money from the credit markets has become more difficult as many lenders have increased interest rates, enacted tighter lending standards, refused to refinance existing debt at all or on terms similar to current debt and reduced, and in some cases ceased, to provide funding to borrowers. Due to these factors, we cannot be certain that financing will be available if needed and to the extent required, on acceptable terms. If financing is not available when needed, or is available only on unfavorable terms, we may be unable to enhance our existing business, complete additional vessel acquisitions or otherwise take advantage of business opportunities as they arise.
Acts of piracy on ocean-going vessels could adversely affect our business.
Acts of piracy have historically affected ocean-going vessels trading in regions of the world such as the South China Sea, the Indian Ocean and in the Gulf of Aden off the coast of Somalia and, in particular, the Gulf of Guinea region off Nigeria, which
experienced increased incidents of piracy in 2019. Sea piracy incidents continue to occur, increasingly in the Sulu Sea and the Gulf of Guinea, with drybulk vessels and tankers particularly vulnerable to such attacks. In the past, political conflicts have also resulted in attacks on vessels, mining of waterways and other efforts to disrupt international shipping. The perception that our vessels are a potential piracy or terrorist target could have a material adverse impact on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Further, if these piracy attacks occur in regions in which our vessels are deployed that insurers characterize as “war risk” zones or by the 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, if available at all. In addition, crew costs, including costs that may be incurred to the extent we employ on-board security guards, could increase in such circumstances. We may not be adequately insured to cover losses from these incidents, which could have a material adverse effect on us. In addition, detention 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 impact on our business, results of operations, cash flows and financial condition, and this may result in loss of revenues, increased costs and decreased cash flows to our customers, which could impair their ability to make payments to us under our charters.
Political instability, terrorist attacks, international hostilities and global public health threats can affect the seaborne transportation industry, which could adversely affect our business.
We conduct most of our operations outside of the United States, and our business, results of operations, cash flows, financial condition and ability to pay dividends, if any, in the future may be adversely affected by changing economic, political and government conditions in the countries and regions where our vessels are employed or registered. Moreover, we operate in a sector of the economy that is likely to be adversely impacted by the effects of political conflicts, including the current political instability in the Middle East and the South China Sea region and other geographic countries and areas, geopolitical events such as Brexit, terrorist or other attacks, and war (or threatened war) or international hostilities, such as those between the United States and North Korea. Terrorist attacks such as those in Paris on November 13, 2015, Manchester on May 22, 2017, as well as the frequent incidents of terrorism in the Middle East, and the continuing response of the United States and others to these attacks, as well as the threat of future terrorist attacks around the world, continues 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 the Middle East, including increased tensions between the U.S. and Iran, as well as the presence of U.S. or other armed forces in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and various other regions, 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. As a result of the above, insurers have increased premiums and reduced or restricted coverage for losses caused by terrorist acts generally. These uncertainties could also adversely affect our ability to obtain additional financing on terms acceptable to us or at all. Any of these occurrences could have a material adverse impact on our operating results, revenues and costs. Additionally, Brexit, or similar events in other jurisdictions, could impact global markets, including foreign exchange and securities markets; any resulting changes in currency exchange rates, tariffs, treaties and other regulatory matters could in turn adversely impact our business and operations.
Further, governments may turn and have turned to trade barriers to protect their domestic industries against foreign imports, thereby depressing shipping demand. In particular, leaders in the United States and China have implemented certain increasingly protective trade measures. The results of the 2016 presidential election and the potential results of the upcoming 2020 presidential election in the United States have created significant uncertainty about the future relationship between the United States, China and other exporting countries, including with respect to trade policies, treaties, government regulations and tariffs. For example, in March 2018, President Trump announced tariffs on imported steel and aluminum into the United States that could have a negative impact on international trade generally and, in January 2019, the United States announced expanded sanctions against Venezuela, which may have an effect on its oil output and, in turn, affect global oil supply. There have also been continuing trade tensions, including significant tariff increases, between the United States and China. Protectionist developments, or the perception that they may occur, may have a material adverse effect on global economic conditions, and may significantly reduce global trade. Moreover, increasing trade protectionism may cause an increase in (i) the cost of goods exported from regions globally, (ii) the length of time required to transport goods and (iii) the risks associated with exporting goods. Such increases may significantly affect the quantity of goods to be shipped, shipping time schedules, voyage costs and other associated costs, which could have an adverse impact on our charterers' business, operating results and financial condition and could thereby affect their ability to make timely charter hire payments to us and to renew and increase the number of their time charters with us. This could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition and our ability to pay any cash distributions to our stockholders.
In Europe, large sovereign debts and fiscal deficits, low growth prospects and high unemployment rates in a number of countries have contributed to the rise of Eurosceptic parties, which would like their countries to leave the Euro. The exit of the U.K. from the European Union, or Brexit, and potential new trade policies in the United States further increase the risk of additional trade protectionism.
In the past, political instability has 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 and the Gulf of Aden off the coast of Somalia.
In addition, public health threats, such as the novel coronavirus, influenza and other highly communicable diseases or viruses, outbreaks of which have from time to time occurred in various parts of the world in which we operate, including China, could adversely impact our operations, the timing of completion of scheduled dry-dockings and ballast water treatment system installation projects, as well as the operations of our customers.
Any of these occurrences could have a material adverse impact on our future performance, results of operations, cash flows and financial position.
Outbreaks of epidemic and pandemic of diseases and governmental responses thereto could adversely affect our business.
Our operations are subject to risks related to outbreaks of infectious diseases. For example, the recent outbreak of coronavirus COVID-19, or the Coronavirus, a virus causing potentially deadly respiratory tract infections originating in China, may negatively affect economic conditions and the demand for drybulkers regionally as well as globally and otherwise impact our operations and the operations of our customers and suppliers. Governments in affected countries are imposing travel bans, quarantines and other emergency public health measures. Those measures, though temporary in nature, may continue and increase depending on developments in the virus’ outbreak. As a result of these measures, our vessels may not be able to call on ports, or may be restricted from disembarking from ports, located in regions affected by Coronavirus. Although our operations have not been materially affected by the Corona virus outbreak to date, the ultimate severity of the Coronavirus outbreak is uncertain at this time and therefore we cannot predict the impact it may have on our future operations, which could be material and adverse.
Our revenues are subject to seasonal fluctuations, which could affect our operating results and our ability to pay dividends, if any, in the future.
We operate our drybulk vessels in markets that have historically exhibited seasonal variations in demand and, as a result, in charter and freight rates. This seasonality may result in quarter-to-quarter volatility in our operating results, which could affect our ability to pay dividends, if any, in the future. The drybulk carrier market is typically stronger in the fall and winter months due to demand increases arising from agricultural harvest and increased coal demand in preparation for winter in the Northern Hemisphere. In addition, unpredictable weather patterns in these months tend to disrupt vessel scheduling and supplies of certain commodities. This seasonality may adversely affect our operating results and our ability to pay dividends, if any, in the future.
Risks associated with operating ocean-going vessels could affect our business and reputation, which could adversely affect our revenues and the price of our common shares.
The operation of ocean-going vessels carries inherent risks. These risks include the possibility of:
cargo and property losses or damage;
business interruptions caused by mechanical failure, human error, war, terrorism, political action in various countries, labor strikes or adverse weather conditions; and
The involvement of our vessels in an environmental disaster may harm our reputation as a safe and reliable vessel owner and operator. Any of these circumstances or events could increase our costs or lower our revenues.
The operation of drybulk carriers entails certain unique operational risks.
The operation of certain ship types, such as drybulk carriers, has certain unique risks. With a drybulk carrier, the cargo itself and its interaction with the ship can be a risk factor. 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. Furthermore, any defects or flaws in the design of a drybulk carrier may contribute to vessel damage. Hull breaches in drybulk carriers may lead to the flooding of the vessels holds. If a drybulk carrier suffers flooding in its holds, the bulk cargo may become so dense and waterlogged that its pressure may buckle the vessel's bulkheads, leading to the loss of the vessel. If we are unable to adequately maintain our vessels, we may be unable to prevent these events. Any of these circumstances or events could negatively impact our business, financial condition, results of operations and our ability to pay dividends, if any, in the future. In addition, the loss of any of our vessels could harm our reputation as a safe and reliable vessel owner and operator.
If our vessels call on ports located in countries or territories that are subject to sanctions or embargoes imposed by the U.S. government, the European Union, the United Nations, or other governments, it could result in monetary fines or penalties imposed on us and may adversely affect our reputation and the market for our securities
On our charterers' instructions and without our consent, notwithstanding contractual restrictions agreed with us, our vessels may call on ports or operate 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. If such activities result in a sanctions violation, we could be subject to monetary fines, penalties, or other sanctions, and our reputation and the market for our ordinary shares could adversely affected. Although we endeavor to take precautions reasonably designed to mitigate such activities, including relevant provisions in charter agreements forbidding the use of our vessels in trade that would violate economic sanctions, there can be no assurance that we will maintain such compliance, particularly as the scope of certain laws may be unclear and may be subject to changing interpretations.
The 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. Current or future counterparties of ours may be affiliated with persons or entities that are or may be in the future the subject of sanctions imposed by the U.S. administration, the EU, and/or other international bodies. If we determine that such sanctions require us to terminate existing or future contracts to which we or our subsidiaries are party or if we are found to be in violation of such applicable sanctions, our results of operations may be adversely affected or we may suffer reputational harm.
Although we believe that we have been 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 fines, penalties or other sanctions that 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. Additionally, some investors may decide to divest their interest, or not to invest, in our company simply because we do business with companies that do business in sanctioned countries or territories. 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. 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 permissible 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 permissible 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 common shares may be adversely affected by the consequences of war, the effects of terrorism, civil unrest and governmental actions in these and surrounding countries.
We are subject to international safety regulations and the failure to comply with these regulations 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 United Nations’ International Maritime Organization’s International Management Code for the Safe Operation of Ships and Pollution Prevention, or ISM Code. The ISM Code requires ship owners and ship managers 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 for dealing with emergencies. The failure of a shipowner 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 the vessels owned or operated by the Company is ISM Code-certified.
In addition, vessel classification societies impose significant safety and other requirements on our vessels. In complying with current and future environmental requirements, vessel owners and operators may incur significant additional costs for maintenance and inspection requirements, in developing contingency arrangements for potential spills and in obtaining insurance coverage. Government regulation of vessels, particularly in the areas of safety and environmental protection requirements, can be expected to become stricter in the future and may require us to incur significant capital expenditures to keep our vessels in compliance.
We are subject to complex laws and regulations, including environmental regulations that can adversely affect the cost, manner or feasibility of doing business.
Our operations are subject to numerous laws and regulations in the form of international conventions and treaties, national, state and local laws and national and international regulations in force in the jurisdictions in which our vessels operate or are registered, which can significantly affect the ownership cost and operation of our vessels. These requirements include, but are not limited to, European Union Regulations, the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships of 1975, the International Maritime Organization, or IMO, International Convention for the Prevention of Marine Pollution of 1973, the IMO International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea of 1974, the International Convention on Load Lines of 1966, the U.S. Oil Pollution Act of 1990, or OPA, the U.S. Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980, or CERCLA, the U.S. Clean Air Act, U.S. Clean Water Act, the U.S. Marine Transportation Security Act of 2002 and the International Code for Ships Operating in Polar Waters.
Compliance with such laws, regulations and standards, where applicable, may require installation of costly equipment or operational changes and may affect the resale value or useful lives of our vessels. We may also incur additional costs in order to comply with other existing and future regulatory obligations, including, but not limited to, costs relating to air emissions including greenhouse gases, the management of ballast waters, maintenance and inspection, development and implementation of emergency procedures and insurance coverage or other financial assurance of our ability to address pollution incidents. These costs could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, cash flows and financial condition. 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. 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.
We are required to satisfy insurance and financial responsibility requirements for potential oil (including marine fuel) spills and other pollution incidents. Although we have arranged 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, results of operations, cash flows and financial condition and our ability to pay dividends.
In order to comply with new ballast water treatment requirements, we will have to install expensive ballast water treatment systems and modify our vessels to accommodate such systems.
The International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments (the “BWM Convention”), adopted by the UN International Maritime Organization in February 2004, calls for the prevention, reduction or elimination of the transfer of harmful aquatic organisms and pathogens through the control and management of ships' ballast water and sediments. The BWM Convention entered into force on September 8, 2017. In order to comply with these living organism limits, vessel owners will have to install expensive ballast water treatment systems and modify existing vessels to accommodate those systems or make port facility disposal arrangements, which may have a material impact on our business, financial condition and results of operations, depending on the cost of available ballast water treatment systems and the extent to which existing vessels must be modified to accommodate such systems.
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 inspections and related procedures in countries of origin, destination and trans-shipment points. Inspection procedures may result in the seizure of the contents of our vessels, delays in the loading, offloading or delivery of our vessels 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 may have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Maritime claimants could arrest one or more of our vessels, which could interrupt our cash flow.
Crew members, suppliers of goods and services to a vessel, shippers of cargo and other parties may be entitled to a maritime lien against a vessel for unsatisfied debts, claims or damages. In many jurisdictions, a claimant may seek to obtain security for its claim by arresting a vessel through foreclosure proceedings. The arrest or attachment of one or more of our vessels could interrupt our cash flow and require us to pay large sums of money to have the arrest or attachment lifted. In addition, in some jurisdictions, such as South Africa, under the “sister ship” theory of liability, a claimant may arrest both the vessel which is subject to the claimant's maritime lien and any “associated” vessel, which is any vessel owned or controlled by the same owner. Claimants could attempt to assert “sister ship” liability against a vessel in our fleet for claims relating to another of our vessels.
Governments could requisition our vessels during a period of war or emergency, resulting in a loss of earnings.
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 her owner, while requisition for hire occurs when a government takes control of a vessel and effectively becomes her 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 would 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 may negatively impact our revenues and reduce the amount of dividends, if any, in the future.
Changes in fuel prices may adversely affect profits.
Fuel, or bunkers, is typically the largest expense of our operating business and therefore, changes in the price of fuel may adversely affect our profitability. When we operate vessels under COAs or voyage charters, we are responsible for all voyage costs, including bunkers. The price and supply of fuel can be unpredictable and fluctuates based on events outside our control, including geopolitical developments, supply 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. Further, fuel may become much more expensive in the future, such as when new regulations requiring the use of low sulphur fuel go into effect in 2020. Increased fuel costs may reduce our profitability. We continually monitor the market volatility associated with bunker prices and seek to hedge our exposure to changes in the price of marine fuels with our bunker hedging program. Please see “The Company’s Management and Discussion Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations - Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures about Market Risks - Fuel Swap Contracts.”
In the highly competitive international shipping industry, we may not be able to compete successfully for chartered-in vessels or for vessel employment and, as a result, we may be unable to charter-in vessels at reasonable rates or employ our vessels profitably.
We charter-in and employ vessels in a highly competitive market that is capital intensive and highly fragmented. Competition arises primarily from other vessel owners and operators, some of whom have substantially greater resources than we do. Competition for seaborne transportation of drybulk cargo by sea is intense and depends on the charter or freight rate and on the location, size, age, condition and acceptability of a vessel and its operators. Due to the highly fragmented market, competitors with greater resources are able to operate larger fleets and may be able to offer lower charter or freight rates and higher quality vessels than we are able to offer. If we are unable to successfully compete with other drybulk shipping operators, we may be unable to retain customers or attract new customers, which would have an adverse impact on our results of operations.
Labor interruptions could disrupt our business.
Our vessels are manned by masters, officers and crews that are contracted by our technical managers. If not resolved in a timely and cost-effective manner, industrial action or other labor unrest could prevent or hinder our operations from being carried out normally and could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows, and on our ability to pay dividends.
Increasing scrutiny and changing expectations from investors, lenders and other market participants with respect to our Environmental, Social and Governance (“ESG”) policies may impose additional costs on us or expose us to additional risks.
Companies across all industries are facing increasing scrutiny relating to their ESG policies. Investor advocacy groups, certain institutional investors, investment funds, lenders and other market participants are increasingly focused on ESG practices and in recent years have placed increasing importance on the implications and social cost of their investments. The increased focus and activism related to ESG and similar matters may hinder access to capital, as investors and lenders may decide to reallocate capital or to not commit capital as a result of their assessment of a company’s ESG practices. Companies which do not adapt to or comply with investor, lender or other industry shareholder expectations and standards, which are evolving, or which are perceived to have not responded appropriately to the growing concern for ESG issues, regardless of whether there is a legal requirement to do so, may suffer from reputational damage and the business, financial condition, and/or stock price of such a company could be materially and adversely affected.
We may face increasing pressures from investors, lenders and other market participants, who are increasingly focused on climate change, to prioritize sustainable energy practices, reduce our carbon footprint and promote sustainability. As a result, we may be required to implement more stringent ESG procedures or standards so that our existing and future investors and lenders remain invested in us and make further investments in us, especially given the highly focused and specific trade of drybulk transportation in which we are engaged. If we do not meet these standards, our business and/or our ability to access capital could be harmed.
These limitations in both the debt and equity capital markets may affect our ability to grow as our plans for growth may include accessing the equity and debt capital markets. If those markets are unavailable, or if we are unable to access alternative means of financing on acceptable terms, or at all, we may be unable to implement our business strategy, which would have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations and impair our ability to service our indebtedness. Further, it is likely that we will incur additional costs and require additional resources to monitor, report and comply with wide ranging ESG requirements. The occurrence of any of the foregoing could have a material adverse effect on our business and financial condition.
Our insurance may not be adequate to cover our losses that may result from our operations due to the inherent operational risks of the seaborne transportation industry.
We carry insurance to protect us against most of the accident-related risks involved in the conduct of our business, including marine hull and machinery insurance, protection and indemnity insurance, which include pollution risks, crew insurance and war risks insurance. However, we may not be adequately insured to cover all of our potential losses, which could have a material adverse effect on us. Additionally, our insurers may refuse to pay particular claims, and our insurance may be voidable by the insurers if we take, or fail to take, certain action, such as failing to maintain certification of our vessels with the applicable maritime regulatory organizations. Any significant uninsured or under-insured loss or liability could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows and our ability to pay dividends. In addition, we may not be able to obtain adequate insurance coverage at reasonable rates in the future during adverse insurance market conditions.
In addition, we do not carry loss-of-hire insurance, which covers the loss of revenues during extended vessel off-hire periods, such as those that occur during an unscheduled drydocking due to damage to the vessel from accidents. Accordingly, any loss of a vessel or extended vessel off-hire, due to an accident or otherwise, could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and our ability to pay dividends.
The logistics industry has its own set of risks, including infrastructure issues, operational efficiencies, lack of digital culture and training, labor relations and operational costs. We may not be able to provide logistics solutions to our customers in the face of obstacles created as a result of one of these factors.
The Company has dedicated resources to developing logistics solutions for our customers. These solutions may depend on infrastructure quality and improvement, the ability to hire qualified personnel, the ability to coordinate operations, development of digital integration and collaboration with suppliers and customers, and the ability to contain costs. If we are unable to facilitate these solutions due to any of these factors, we will not be able to continue developing such solutions.
Failure to comply with the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act could result in fines, criminal penalties, charter terminations and an adverse effect on our business.
We may operate in a number of countries throughout the world, including countries known to have a reputation for corruption. We are committed to doing business in accordance with applicable anti-corruption laws and have adopted a code of business conduct and ethics which is consistent and in full compliance with the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977, or the FCPA. We are subject, however, to the risk that we, our affiliated entities or our or their respective officers, directors, employees and agents may take actions determined to be in violation of such anti-corruption laws, including the FCPA. Any such violation could result in substantial fines, sanctions, civil and/or criminal penalties and curtailment of operations in certain jurisdictions, and might adversely affect our business, results of operations or financial condition. In addition, actual or alleged violations could damage our reputation and ability to do business. Furthermore, detecting, investigating and resolving actual or alleged violations is expensive and can consume significant time and attention of our senior management.
Risks Relating to Our Company
Our business strategy includes chartering-in vessels, and we may not be able to charter-in suitable vessels.
Our business strategy depends, in large part, on our ability to charter-in vessels. If we are not able to find suitable vessels to charter-in, or to charter-in vessels at what we deem to be a reasonable rate, we may not be able to operate profitably or perform our contractual obligations. As a result, we may need to adjust our business strategy, and we may experience material adverse effects on our business, financial condition and results of operations. In addition, if we charter-in a vessel and shipping rates subsequently decrease, or we are unable to secure employment for such a vessel, our obligation under the charter may adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.
We depend upon a few significant customers for a large part of our revenues and cash flow, and the loss of one or more of these customers could adversely affect our financial performance.
We expect to derive a significant part of our revenue and cash flow from a relatively small number of repeat customers. For the year ended December 31, 2019, one customer accounted for approximately 11% of total revenue and all of our top ten customers, representing 41% of total revenue, are repeat customers. If one or more of our significant customers is unable to perform under one or more charters or COAs and we are not able to find a replacement charter or COA; or if a customer exercises certain rights to terminate the charter or COA, we could suffer a loss of revenues that could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash available for distribution as dividends to our shareholders.
We could lose a customer or the benefits of a charter or COA if, among other things:
the customer fails to make charter payments because of its financial inability, disagreements with us or otherwise; or
the customer terminates the charter because we do not perform in accordance with such charter and do not cure such failures within a specified period.
If we lose a key customer, we may be unable to obtain replacement charters or COAs on comparable terms or at all. The loss of any of our customers, COAs, charters or vessels, or a decline in payments under our agreements, could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition and our ability to pay dividends to our shareholders.
We are a holding company, and depend on the ability of our subsidiaries, through which we operate our business, to distribute funds to us in order to satisfy our financial obligations or to make dividend payments.
We are a holding company, and our subsidiaries conduct all of our operations and own all of our operating assets. The equity interests in our vessel-owning subsidiaries represent a significant portion of our operating assets. As a result, our ability to satisfy our financial obligations and to pay dividends to our shareholders depends on the ability of our subsidiaries to generate profits available for distribution to us and, to the extent that they are unable to generate profits, we will be unable to pay dividends to our shareholders.
We are subject to certain risks with counterparties on contracts and the failure of such counterparties to meet their obligations could cause us to suffer losses or otherwise adversely affect our business and ability to comply with covenants in our loan agreements.
We enter into various contracts that are material to the operation of our business, including COAs, time charters and voyage charters under which we employ our vessels, and charter agreements under which we charter-in vessels. We also enter into loan agreements and hedging agreements, such as bunker swap agreements and forward freight agreements, or FFAs. Such agreements subject us to counterparty risks. The ability and willingness of each of our counterparties to perform its obligations under a contract with us will depend on a number of factors that are beyond our control, including, among other things, general economic conditions, the condition of the drybulk shipping industry, the overall financial condition of our counterparty, prevailing prices for drybulk cargoes, rates received for specific types of vessels and voyages, and various expenses. In addition, in depressed market conditions, our customers may no longer need us to carry a cargo that is currently under contract or may be able to obtain carriage at a lower rate. If our customers fail to meet their obligations to us or attempt to renegotiate our agreements, it may be difficult to secure suitable substitute employment for the vessel, and any new charter arrangements we secure may be at lower rates or, if our counterparties fail to deliver a vessel we have agreed to charter-in, or if a counterparty otherwise fails to honor its obligations to us under a contract, we could sustain significant losses, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations, cash flows, ability to pay dividends to holders of our common shares in the amounts anticipated or at all and compliance with covenants in our secured loan agreements.
Additionally, we are subject to certain risks as a result of using our vessels as collateral. If we are in breach of financial covenants contained in our loan agreements, we may not be successful in obtaining waivers and amendments. If our indebtedness is accelerated, it may be difficult in the current financing environment for us to refinance our debt or obtain additional financing and we could lose our vessels if our lenders foreclose on their liens.
We may be unable to comply with covenants in our credit facilities or any financial obligations that impose operating and financial restrictions on us.
Our credit facilities and finance leases, which are secured by mortgages on our vessels, impose certain operating and financial restrictions on us, mainly to ensure that the market value of the mortgaged vessel under the applicable credit facility does not fall below a certain percentage of the outstanding amount of the loan, which we refer to as the collateral maintenance or loan to value ratio. In addition, certain of our credit facilities include other financial covenants, which require us to, among other things, maintain:
a consolidated leverage ratio of not more than 200%;
a consolidated debt service coverage ratio of not less than 120%;
Minimum consolidated net worth of $45 million plus, with respect to any vessel purchased or leased by the Guarantor or its subsidiaries, for so long as such vessels are legally or economically owned, 25% of the purchase price or (finance) lease amount of such vessels;
consolidated minimum liquidity of not less than $18 million
In general, the operating restrictions that are contained in our credit facilities may prohibit or otherwise limit our ability to, among other things:
effect changes in management of our vessels;
sell or dispose of any of our assets, including our vessels;
declare and pay dividends;
incur additional indebtedness;
mortgage our vessels; and
incur and pay management fees or commissions.
Non-compliance with any of our financial covenants or operating restrictions contained in our credit facilities may constitute an event of default under our credit facilities, which, unless cured within the grace period set forth under the applicable credit facility, if applicable, or waived or modified by our lenders, provides our lenders with the right to, among other things, require us to post additional collateral, enhance our equity and liquidity, increase our interest payments, pay down our indebtedness to a level where we are in compliance, sell vessels in our fleet, reclassify our indebtedness as current liabilities, accelerate our indebtedness, or foreclose their liens on our vessels and the other assets securing the credit facilities, which would impair our ability to continue to conduct our business. As of December 31, 2019, we are in compliance with covenants contained in our debt agreements. Please read “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations - Liquidity and Capital Resources - Borrowing Activities.”
Furthermore, certain of our credit facilities contain a cross-default provision that may be triggered by a default under one of our other credit facilities. A cross-default provision means that a default on one loan would result in a default on certain other loans. Because of the presence of cross-default provisions in certain of our credit facilities, the refusal of any one lender under our credit facilities to grant or extend a waiver could result in certain of our indebtedness being accelerated. If our secured
indebtedness is accelerated in full or in part, it would be very difficult in the current financing environment for us to refinance our debt or obtain additional financing and we could lose our vessels and other assets securing our credit facilities if our lenders foreclose their liens, which would adversely affect our ability to conduct our business.
We may be unable to effectively manage our growth strategy.
One of our principal business strategies is to continue to expand capacity and flexibility by increasing our owned fleet as we secure additional demand for our services. Our growth strategy will depend upon a number of factors, some of which may not be within our control. These factors include our ability to:
enter into new contracts for the transportation of cargoes;
develop customized logistics solutions within targeted dry bulk trades;
locate and acquire suitable vessels for acquisitions at attractive prices;
obtain required financing for our existing and new operations;
integrate any acquired vessels successfully with our existing operations, including obtaining any approvals and qualifications necessary to operate vessels that we acquire;
enhance our customer base;
hire, train and retain qualified personnel and crew to manage and operate our growing business and fleet;
identify additional new markets; and
improve our operating, financial and accounting systems and controls.
We may undertake future financings to finance our growth. Our failure to effectively identify, purchase, develop and integrate any vessels could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations. The number of employees that perform services for us and our current operating and financial systems may not be adequate as we implement our plan to expand the size of our fleet, and we may not be able to effectively hire more employees or adequately improve those systems. Finally, acquisitions may require additional equity issuances or debt issuances (with amortization payments), both of which could lower our available cash. If any such events occur, our financial condition may be adversely affected.
Growing any business presents numerous risks such as difficulty in obtaining additional qualified personnel and managing relationships with customers and suppliers. The expansion of our fleet may impose significant additional responsibilities on our management and staff, and may necessitate that we increase the number of personnel. We cannot give any assurance that we will be successful in executing our growth plans or that we will not incur significant expenses and losses in connection with our future growth.
Investment in forward freight agreements and other derivative instruments could result in losses.
We manage our market exposure using forward freight agreements, or FFAs, and other derivative instruments, such as bunker hedging contracts. FFAs are cash-settled derivative contracts based on future freight delivery rates and other derivative instruments. FFAs may be used to hedge exposure to the changing rates by providing for the purchase or sale of a contracted charter rate along a specified route or combination of routes and over a specified period of time. Upon settlement, if the contracted charter rate is less than the settlement rate, the seller of the FFA is required to pay the buyer an amount equal to the difference between the contracted rate and the settlement rate, multiplied by the number of days in the specified period. Conversely, if the contracted rate is greater than the settlement rate, the buyer is required to pay the seller the settlement sum. If we take positions in FFAs and do not correctly anticipate rate movements for the specified vessel route or routes and relevant time period or our assumptions regarding the relative relationships of certain vessels’ earnings, routes and other factors relevant to the FFA markets are incorrect, we could suffer losses in settling or terminating our FFAs. In addition, we normally do not designate our FFAs for special hedge accounting and, as such, our use of such derivatives may lead to material fluctuations in our results of operations.
We also seek to manage our exposure to volatility in the market price of bunkers by entering into bunker hedging contracts. There can be no assurance that we will be able to successfully limit our risks, leaving us exposed to unprofitable contracts and we may suffer significant losses from these hedging activities.
Our long-term COAs, single charter bookings and time-charter agreements may result in significant fluctuations in our quarterly results, which may adversely affect our liquidity, as well as our ability to satisfy our financial obligations.
As part of our business strategy, we enter into long-term COAs, single charter bookings and time-charter agreements. We evaluate entering into long-term positions based on the expected return over the full term of the contract. However, long-term contracts that we believe provide attractive returns over their full term may produce losses over portions of the contract period. We may be required to provide additional margin collateral in connection with FFA positions that are settled through clearinghouses,
depending upon movements in the FFA markets. These interim losses, fluctuations in our quarterly results or incremental collateral requirements may adversely affect our financial liquidity, as well as our ability to satisfy our financial obligations.
We depend on COAs, which could require us to operate at unfavorable rates for a certain amount of time or subject us to other operating risks.
A significant portion of our revenues are derived from COAs. While COAs provide a relatively stable and predictable source of revenue, they typically fix the rate we are paid for our drybulk shipping services. Once we have entered into a COA, if we have not correctly anticipated vessel rates, location and availability for our owned or chartered-in fleet to fulfill the COA, we could suffer losses. Moreover, factors beyond our control may cause a COA to become unprofitable. Nevertheless, we would be obligated to continue to perform for the term of the COA. In addition, factors beyond our control, such as vessel availability, port delays, changes in government or industry rules or regulation, industrial actions or acts of terrorism or war, could affect our ability to perform our obligations under our COAs, which could result in breach of contract or other claims by our COA counterparties. Any of these occurrences could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations and financial condition.
We are a “smaller reporting company” and a "non-accelerated filer" and we cannot be certain if the reduced disclosure requirements applicable to smaller reporting companies will make our common shares less attractive to investors.
We are a “smaller reporting company,” as defined in the Securities Act of 1934, and may choose to rely on scaled disclosure requirements available to smaller reporting companies. On June 28, 2018, the Commission adopted amendments to the definition of “smaller reporting company” that became effective on September 10, 2018. Under the new definition, generally, a company qualifies as a “smaller reporting company” if it has public float of less than $250 million; or it has less than $100 million in annual revenues and no public float or public float of less than $700 million.
The scaled disclosure requirements for smaller reporting companies permit us to include less extensive narrative disclosure than required of other reporting companies, particularly in the description of executive compensation and to provide audited financial statements for two fiscal years, in contrast to other reporting companies, which must provide audited financial statements for three fiscal years.
In addition to the accommodations that are available to smaller reporting companies, there are also different requirements that apply to “non-accelerated filers” and “accelerated filers.” Generally, if a smaller reporting company has no public float or public float of less than $75 million, it will be a non-accelerated filer. A non-accelerated filer is not required to provide an auditor attestation of management's assessment of internal control over financial reporting, which is generally required for SEC reporting companies under Sarbanes-Oxley Act Section 404(b), and, in contrast to other reporting companies, has more time to file its periodic reports. If a smaller reporting company has public float of $75 million or more, it will be an accelerated filer. Among other requirements, accelerated filers are required to provide an auditor’s attestation of management’s assessment of internal control over financial reporting required under Sarbanes-Oxley Act Section 404(b).
Investors may find our common shares and the price of our common shares less attractive because we rely, or may rely, on these exemptions. If some investors find our common shares less attractive as a result, there may be a less active trading market for our common shares and the price of our common shares may be more volatile.
Obligations associated with being a public company require significant company resources and management attention, and we incur increased costs as a result of being a public company.
We are subject to the reporting requirements of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, or the Exchange Act, and the rules and regulations of the SEC, including Sarbanes-Oxley, and requirements of the NASDAQ Global Select Market. These requirements and rules may place a strain on our systems and resources. For example, the Exchange Act requires that we file annual, quarterly and current reports with respect to our business and financial condition and Sarbanes-Oxley requires that we document and maintain effective disclosure controls and procedures and internal control over financial reporting. These reporting and other obligations place significant demands on our management, administrative, operational and accounting resources and we incur significant legal, accounting and other expenses as a result. The expenses incurred by public companies, generally, for reporting and corporate governance purposes have been increasing and the costs we incur for such purposes may strain our resources. We may implement additional financial and management controls and procedures, reporting and business intelligence systems, create or outsource an internal audit function, or hire additional accounting and finance staff. If we are unable to accomplish these objectives in a timely and effective fashion, our ability to comply with the financial reporting requirements and other rules that apply to reporting companies could be impaired. In addition, our limited management resources may exacerbate the difficulties in complying with these reporting and other requirements while focusing on executing our business strategy. Our incremental
general and administrative expenses as a publicly traded corporation include costs associated with preparing reports to shareholders, tax returns, investor relations, registrar and transfer agent’s fees, incremental director and officer liability insurance costs and director compensation. Any failure to maintain effective internal control over financial reporting could have a material adverse effect on our business, prospects, liquidity, results of operations and financial condition. Furthermore, if we are unable to satisfy our obligations as a public company, we could be subject to delisting of our common shares, fines, sanctions and other regulatory action.
We are required to comply with certain provisions of Section 404 of Sarbanes-Oxley. However, as a smaller reporting company that is also a non-accelerated filer, we are exempt from certain of its requirements for so long as we remain so. For example, Section 404 of Sarbanes-Oxley requires that the Company and its independent auditors report annually on the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting. However, as a smaller reporting company and non-accelerated filer, we may take advantage of an exemption from the auditor attestation requirement. Once we are no longer a smaller reporting company and non-accelerated filer, or, if prior to such date, we opt to no longer take advantage of the applicable exemption, we will be required to include an opinion from our independent auditors on the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting. Management, however, is not exempt from this requirement, and is required to, among other things, maintain and periodically evaluate our internal control over financial reporting and disclosure controls and procedures. In particular, we must perform system and process documentation, evaluation and testing of our internal control over financial reporting to allow us to report on the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting.
A failure to pass inspection by classification societies could result in vessels being unemployable until they pass inspection, resulting in a loss of revenues from such vessels for that period.
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 the United Nations Safety of Life at Sea Convention. Our owned fleet is currently enrolled with Bureau Veritas (BV), DNV GL Group (DNV), and Nippon Kaiji Kyokai (NK).
A vessel must undergo annual surveys, intermediate surveys and special surveys. In lieu of a special survey, a vessel’s machinery may be on a continuous survey cycle, under which the machinery would be surveyed periodically over a five-year period. Our vessels are on special survey cycles for hull inspection and continuous survey cycles for machinery inspection. Every vessel must undergo regulatory surveys of its underwater parts every 30 to 60 months.
If a vessel fails any annual survey, intermediate survey or special survey, the vessel may be unable to trade between ports and, therefore, would be unemployable, potentially causing a negative impact on our revenues due to the loss of revenues from such vessel until it was able to trade again.
Because we purchase and operate secondhand vessels, we may be exposed to increased operating costs which could adversely affect our earnings and, as our fleet ages, the risks associated with older vessels could adversely affect our ability to obtain profitable charters.
As part of our current business strategy to increase our owned fleet, we may acquire new and secondhand vessels. While we inspect secondhand vessels prior to purchase, this does not provide us with the same knowledge about their condition that we would have had if these vessels had been built for and operated exclusively by us. Accordingly, we may not discover defects or other problems with secondhand vessels prior to purchasing or chartering-in, or may incur costs to terminate a purchase agreement. Any such hidden defects or problems may be expensive to repair, and if not detected, may result in accidents or other incidents for which we may become liable to third parties.
In general, the costs to maintain a vessel in good operating condition increase with the age of the vessel. Older vessels are typically less fuel-efficient than more recently constructed vessels due to improvements in engine technology. Cargo insurance rates increase with the age of a vessel, making older vessels less desirable to charterers.
Furthermore, governmental regulations, safety or other equipment standards related to the age of vessels may require expenditures for alterations, or the addition of new equipment and may restrict the type of activities in which the vessel may engage. As our vessels age, market conditions may not justify those expenditures or enable us to operate our vessels profitably during the remainder of their useful lives.
Unless we set aside reserves or are able to borrow funds for vessel replacement, we will be unable to replace the vessels in our fleet at the end of their useful lives.
We estimate the useful life of our vessels to be 25 or 30 years from the date of initial delivery from the shipyard. The remaining estimated useful lives of our vessels range from 2 to 23 years, depending on the age and type of vessel. The average age of our owned drybulk carriers at the time of this filing is approximately 9 years. A portion of our cash flows and income are dependent on the revenues earned by employing our vessels. If we are unable to replace the vessels in our fleet at the end of their useful lives, our business, results of operations, financial condition and ability to pay dividends could be materially and adversely affected. We currently do not maintain reserves for vessel replacements. We intend to finance vessel replacements from internally generated cash flow, borrowings under our credit facilities or additional equity or debt offerings.
Our ability to obtain additional debt financing, or to refinance existing indebtedness, may be dependent on the performance and length of our COAs and charters, and the creditworthiness of our contract counterparties.
The performance and length of our COAs and charters and the actual or perceived credit quality of our contract counterparties, and any defaults by them, may materially affect our ability to obtain the additional capital resources required to purchase additional vessels or may significantly increase our costs of obtaining such capital. Our inability to obtain additional financing on acceptable terms or at all may materially affect our results of operations and our ability to implement our business strategy.
We intend to partially finance the acquisition of vessels with borrowings drawn under credit facilities or finance lease obligations. While we may refinance amounts drawn under our credit facilities with the net proceeds of future debt and equity offerings, we cannot assure you that we will be able to do so at interest rates and on terms that are acceptable to us or at all. If we are not able to refinance these amounts with the net proceeds of debt and equity offerings at an interest rate or on terms acceptable to us or at all, we will have to dedicate a larger portion of our cash flow from operations to pay the principal and interest of this indebtedness. If we are not able to satisfy these obligations, we may have to undertake alternative financing plans or sell vessels. The actual or perceived credit quality of our contract counterparties, any defaults by them and the market value of our fleet, among other things, may materially affect our ability to obtain alternative financing. In addition, debt service payments under our credit facilities, finance lease obligations or alternative financing may limit funds otherwise available for working capital, capital expenditures, the payment of dividends and other purposes. If we are unable to meet our debt obligations, or if we otherwise default under our credit facilities or alternative financing arrangements, our lenders could declare the debt, together with accrued interest and fees, to be immediately due and payable and foreclose on our fleet, which could result in the acceleration of other indebtedness that we may have at such time and the commencement of similar foreclosure proceedings by other lenders.
We depend on our Chief Executive Officer, Chief Operating Officer, Chief Financial Officer and other key employees, and the loss of their services would have a material adverse effect on our business, results and financial condition.
We depend on the efforts, knowledge, skill, reputations and business contacts of our Chief Executive Officer, Edward Coll, our Chief Financial Officer, Gianni Del Signore, our Chief Operating Officer, Mark Filanowski, and other key employees, including Mads Boye Petersen, Peter Koken, Robert Seward, Neil McLaughlin and Fotis Doussopoulos. Accordingly, our success will depend on the continued service of these individuals. We do not have employment agreements with our executive officers or employees. We may experience departures of senior executive officers and other key employees, and we cannot predict the impact that any of their departures would have on our ability to achieve our financial objectives. The loss of the services of any of them could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.
Exposure to currency exchange rate fluctuations will result in fluctuations in our cash flows and operating results.
We may generate our revenues and incur some of our operating expenses and general and administrative expenses in currencies other than the U.S. dollar. This difference could lead to fluctuations in our revenues and vessel operating expenses, which would affect our financial results. Expenses incurred in foreign currencies increase when the value of the U.S. dollar falls, which would reduce our profitability. Our operating results could suffer as a result.
We may be subject to litigation, arbitration and other proceedings that could have an adverse effect on our business
We may be, from time to time, involved in various litigation matters arising in the ordinary course of business, or otherwise. These matters may include, among other things, contract disputes, personal injury claims, environmental matters, governmental claims for taxes or duties, securities, or maritime matters. The potential costs to resolve any claim or other litigation matter, or a combination of these, may have a material adverse effect on us because of potential negative outcomes, the costs associated with asserting our claims or defending such lawsuits, and the diversion of management's attention to these matters.
United States tax authorities could treat us as a “passive foreign investment company,” which could have adverse United States federal income tax consequences to U.S. holders
A foreign corporation will be treated as a “passive foreign investment company,” or PFIC, for United States federal income tax purposes if either (1) at least 75% of its gross income for any taxable year consists of certain types of “passive income” or (2) at least 50% of the average value of the corporation's assets produce or are held for the production of those types of “passive income.” For purposes of these tests, “passive income” includes dividends, interest, and gains from the sale or exchange of investment property and rents and royalties other than rents and royalties which are received from unrelated parties in connection with the active conduct of a trade or business. For purposes of these tests, income derived from the performance of services does not constitute “passive income.” United States shareholders of a PFIC are subject to a disadvantageous United States federal income tax regime with respect to the income derived by the PFIC, the distributions they receive from the PFIC and the gain, if any, they derive from the sale or other disposition of their shares in the PFIC.
Based on our proposed method of operation, we do not believe that we will be a PFIC with respect to any taxable year. In this regard, we intend to treat the gross income we derive or are deemed to derive from our time chartering activities as services income, rather than rental income. Accordingly, we believe that our income from our time chartering activities does not constitute “passive income,” and the assets that we own and operate in connection with the production of that income do not constitute passive assets.
There is, however, no direct legal authority under the PFIC rules addressing our proposed method of operation. Accordingly, no assurance can be given that the United States Internal Revenue Service, or IRS, or a court of law will accept our position, and there is a risk that the IRS or a court of law could determine that we are a PFIC. Moreover, no assurance can be given that we would not constitute a PFIC for any future taxable year if there were to be changes in the nature and extent of our operations.
If the IRS were to find that we are or have been a PFIC for any taxable year, our United States shareholders will face adverse United States tax consequences. Under the PFIC rules, unless those shareholders make an election available under the Code (which election could itself have adverse consequences for such shareholders), such shareholders would be liable to pay United States federal income tax at the then prevailing income tax rates on ordinary income plus interest upon excess distributions and upon any gain from the disposition of our common shares, as if the excess distribution or gain had been recognized ratably over the shareholder’s holding period of our common shares.
We may have to pay tax on United States source income, which would reduce our earnings
Under sections 863(c)(3) and 887(a) of the United States Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, or the “Code,” 50% of the gross shipping income of a vessel owning or chartering corporation, such as ourselves and our subsidiaries, that is attributable to transportation that begins or ends, but that does not both begin and end, in the United States may be subject to a 4% United States federal income tax without allowance for deduction, unless that corporation qualifies for exemption from tax under section 883 of the Code and the applicable Treasury Regulations recently promulgated thereunder.
If we or our subsidiaries are not entitled to exemption under Code section 883 for any taxable year, we or our subsidiaries could be subject for those years to an effective 2% United States federal income tax on the shipping income these companies derive during the year that are attributable to the transport of cargoes to or from the United States. The imposition of this taxation would have a negative effect on our business and would result in decreased earnings available for distribution to our shareholders.
We have had and in the future may identify material weaknesses in our internal control over financial reporting that may cause us to fail to meet our reporting obligations or result in material misstatements of our financial statements
Our management team is responsible for establishing and maintaining adequate internal control over financial reporting. Internal control over financial reporting is a process designed to provide reasonable assurance regarding the reliability of financial reporting and the preparation of financial statements in accordance with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles. A material weakness is a deficiency, or a combination of deficiencies, in internal control over financial reporting such that there is a reasonable possibility that a material misstatement of annual or interim financial statements will not be prevented or detected on a timely basis.
Information technology disruptions and security threats could negatively impact our business
Our information technology (IT) and related systems are critical to the operation of our business. Cybersecurity threats, including attempts to gain access to our confidential or proprietary information, malicious software, and other security breaches, continue to evolve and require highly skilled IT resources. We are not aware of any material losses relating to cybersecurity violations, and we believe our threat detection and mitigation processes are sufficient. However, these security threats continue to evolve, and the possibility of future material incidents cannot be completely mitigated. Any future breach of data security, whether of our systems or the systems of our service providers who may have access to our data for business purposes, could compromise confidential information and disrupt our operations, exposing us to liability and increased costs. Such a breach may not be covered
by insurance, may result in reputational damage and adversely affect our competitiveness and our results of operations. We may update and/or replace IT systems used by our business. The implementation of new systems may cause temporary disruptions of business activities as existing processes are transitioned to the new systems.
Risks Related To Our Common Shares
Future sales of our common shares could cause the market price of our common shares to decline.
The market price of our common shares could decline due to sales of a large number of shares in the market, including sales of shares by our large shareholders, or the perception that these sales could occur. These sales could also make it more difficult or impossible for us to sell equity securities in the future at a time and price that we deem appropriate to raise funds through future offerings of common shares.
We may need to raise additional capital in the future, which may not be available on favorable terms or at all or which may dilute our common shares or adversely affect its market price.
We may require additional capital to expand our business and increase revenues, add liquidity in response to negative economic conditions, meet unexpected liquidity needs caused by industry volatility or uncertainty and reduce our outstanding indebtedness under our existing facilities. To the extent that our existing capital and borrowing capabilities are insufficient to meet these requirements and cover any losses, we will need to raise additional funds through debt or equity financings, including offerings of our common shares, securities convertible into our common shares, or rights to acquire our common shares, or curtail our growth and reduce our assets or restructure arrangements with existing security holders. Any equity or debt financing, or additional borrowings, if available at all, may be on terms that are not favorable to us. Equity financings could result in dilution to our shareholders, as described further below, and the securities issued in future financings may have rights, preferences and privileges that are senior to those of our common shares. If our need for capital arises because of significant losses, the occurrence of these losses may make it more difficult for us to raise the necessary capital. If we cannot raise funds on acceptable terms if and when needed, we may not be able to take advantage of future opportunities, grow our business or respond to competitive pressures or unanticipated requirements.
Future issuances of our common shares could dilute our shareholders’ interests in our company.
We may, from time to time, issue additional common shares to support our growth strategy, reduce debt or provide us with capital for other purposes that our Board of Directors believes to be in our best interest. To the extent that an existing shareholder does not purchase additional shares that we issue, that shareholder’s interest in our company will be diluted, which means that its percentage of ownership in our company will be reduced. Following such a reduction, that shareholder’s common shares would represent a smaller percentage of the vote in our Board of Directors’ elections and other shareholder decisions.
Volatility in the market price and trading volume of our common shares could adversely impact the trading price of our common shares.
The stock market in recent years has experienced significant price and volume fluctuations that have often been unrelated or disproportionate to the operating performance of companies like us. These broad market factors may materially reduce the market price of our common shares, regardless of our operating performance. The market price of our common shares, which has experienced significant price fluctuations in the past twelve months, could continue to fluctuate significantly for many reasons, including in response to the risks described herein or for reasons unrelated to our operations, such as reports by industry analysts, investor perceptions or negative announcements by our competitors or suppliers regarding their own performance, as well as industry conditions and general financial, economic and political instability.
Classified Board of Directors.
Our Board of Directors is divided into three classes serving staggered, three-year terms. This classified board provision could discourage a third party from making a tender offer for our shares or attempting to obtain control of us. It could also delay shareholders who do not agree with the policies of our Board of Directors from removing a majority of our Board of Directors for up to two years.
We are incorporated in Bermuda and it may not be possible for our investors to enforce U.S. judgments against us.
We are incorporated in Bermuda and substantially all of our assets are located outside the United States. In addition, one of our directors is a non-resident of the United States, and all or a substantial portion of such director’s assets are located outside the
United States. As a result, it may be difficult or impossible for U.S. investors to serve process within the United States, upon us or our directors and executive officers, or to enforce a judgment against us for civil liabilities in United States courts.
In addition, you should not assume that courts in the countries in which we are incorporated or where our assets are located would enforce judgments of United States courts obtained in actions against us based upon the civil liability provisions of applicable United States federal and state securities laws or would enforce, in original actions, liabilities against us based on those laws.
Because we are a foreign corporation, you may not have the same rights that a shareholder in a U.S. corporation may have.
We are a Bermuda exempted company. Our memorandum of association and bye-laws and the Companies Act, 1981 of Bermuda, or the Companies Act, govern our affairs. The Companies Act does not as clearly establish your rights and the fiduciary responsibilities of our directors as do statutes and judicial precedent in some United States jurisdictions. Therefore, you may have more difficulty in protecting your interests as a shareholder in the face of actions by the management, directors or controlling shareholders than would shareholders of a corporation incorporated in a United States jurisdiction. There is a statutory remedy under Section 111 of the Companies Act which provides that a shareholder may seek redress in the courts as long as such shareholder can establish that our affairs are being conducted, or have been conducted, in a manner oppressive or prejudicial to the interests of some part of the shareholders, including such shareholder. However, you may not have the same rights that a shareholder in a United States corporation may have.
ITEM 1B. UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS
ITEM 2. PROPERTIES
Phoenix Bulk Carriers (US) LLC, the administrative agent for the Company, maintains office space at 109 Long Wharf, Newport, Rhode Island 02840. The building is owned by 109 Long Wharf LLC (“Long Wharf”), a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Company since September 1, 2014. Long Wharf was previously owned by certain of the Company’s Executive Officers and Directors. The Company leases office space in Copenhagen, Athens and Singapore.
ITEM 3. LEGAL PROCEEDINGS
We have not been involved in any legal proceedings which we believe are likely to have, or have had a significant effect on our business, financial position, results of operations or cash flows, nor are we aware of any proceedings that are pending or threatened which we believe are likely to have a significant effect on our business, financial position, results of operations or liquidity. From time to time, we may be subject to legal proceedings and claims in the ordinary course of business, principally personal injury and property casualty claims. We expect that these claims would be covered by insurance, subject to customary deductibles. Those claims, even if lacking merit, could result in the expenditure of significant financial and managerial resources.
ITEM 4. MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURES
ITEM 5. MARKET FOR REGISTRANT'S COMMON EQUITY, RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES
Our common shares have been traded on The Nasdaq Capital Market under the symbol PANL since our common shares began public trading on October 3, 2014.The Company's internet address is www.pangaeals.com.
As of March 23, 2020, the Company estimates that there were approximately 1,005 holders of record of our common shares.
Under our Bye-laws, our board of directors may declare dividends or distributions out of contributed surplus and may also pay interim dividends to be paid in cash, shares of the Company’s stock or any combination thereof. Our board of directors’ objective is to generate competitive returns for our shareholders. Any dividends declared will be in the sole discretion of the board of directors and will depend upon earnings, restrictions in our debt agreements described later in this prospectus, market prospects, current capital expenditure programs and investment opportunities, the provisions of Bermuda law affecting the payment of distributions to shareholders and other factors. Under Bermuda law, the board of directors has no discretion to declare or pay a dividend if there are reasonable grounds for believing that the Company is, or would after the payment be, unable to pay its liabilities as they become due or the realizable value of the Company’s assets would thereby be less than its liabilities.
In addition, since we are a holding company with no material assets other than the shares of our subsidiaries through which we conduct our operations, our ability to pay dividends will depend on our subsidiaries’ distributing to us their earnings and cash flows. The Company paid a quarterly cash dividend of $0.035 per common share commencing in June 2019. The Company did not declare any dividends on our common shares during 2018. We cannot assure you that we will be able to pay regular quarterly dividends, and our ability to pay dividends will be subject to the limitations set forth above and in the section of this Form 10-K titled “Risk Factors.” The Company has dividends payable of $0.6 million at December 31, 2019.
Use of Proceeds
Purchases of Equity Securities by Issuer and Affiliates
Securities Authorized for Issuance Under Equity Compensation Plan
See Part III, Item 12 for information regarding securities authorized for issuance under our equity compensation plan.
ITEM 6. SELECTED FINANCIAL DATA
(in thousands, except shipping days data)
As of and for the years ended December 31,
Selected Data from the Consolidated Statements of Operations
Charter hire expense
Vessel operating expenses
Total cost of transportation and service revenue
Vessel depreciation and amortization
Other operating expenses
Loss on impairment of vessels
Loss on sale of vessels
Loss on sale and leaseback of vessels
Income from operations
Total other expense, net
Income attributable to noncontrolling interests
Net income attributable to Pangaea Logistics Solutions Ltd.
Net income from continuing operations per common share information
Basic income per share
Diluted income per share
Weighted-average common shares Outstanding - basic
Weighted-average common shares Outstanding - diluted
Cash dividends declared per share
Adjusted EBITDA (1)
Shipping Days (2)
Time charter days
Total shipping days
TCE Rates ($/day) (3)
Selected Data from the Consolidated Balance Sheets
Total secured debt, including obligations under finance leases
Total shareholders' equity
Selected Data from the Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows
Net cash provided by operating activities
Net cash used in investing activities
Net cash used in financing activities
Amounts in the table above have been calculated based on unrounded numbers. Accordingly, certain amounts may not appear to recalculate due to the effect of rounding.
Adjusted EBITDA represents operating earnings before interest expense, income taxes, depreciation and amortization, loss on sale and leaseback of vessels and other non-operating income and/or expense, if any. Adjusted EBITDA is included because it is used by management and certain investors to measure operating performance and is also reviewed periodically as a measure of financial performance by Pangaea's Board of Directors. Adjusted EBITDA is not an item recognized by the generally accepted accounting principles in the United States of America, or U.S. GAAP, and should not be considered as an alternative to net income, operating income, or any other indicator of a company's operating performance required by U.S. GAAP. Pangaea’s definition of Adjusted EBITDA used here may not be comparable to the definition of EBITDA used by other companies.
Shipping days are defined as the aggregate number of days in a period during which its owned or chartered-in vessels are performing either a voyage charter (voyage days) or time charter (time charter days).
Pangaea defines time charter equivalent, or “TCE,” rates as total revenues less voyage expenses divided by the length of the voyage, which is consistent with industry standards. TCE rate is a common shipping industry performance measure used primarily to compare daily earnings generated by vessels on time charters with daily earnings generated by vessels on voyage charters, because rates for vessels on voyage charters are generally not expressed in per-day amounts while rates for vessels on time charters generally are expressed in such amounts.
The reconciliation of gross profit to net transportation and service revenue and income from operations to Adjusted EBITDA is as follows:
Years Ended December 31,
Net Transportation and Service Revenue (4)
Vessel Depreciation and Amortization
Net transportation and service revenue
Income from operations
Depreciation and amortization
Loss on sale of vessel
Loss on impairment of vessels
Loss on sale and leaseback of vessels
Amounts in the table above have been calculated based on unrounded numbers. Accordingly, certain amounts may not appear to recalculate due to the effect of rounding.
Net transportation and service revenue represents total revenue less the total direct costs of transportation and services, which includes charter hire, voyage and vessel operating expenses. Net transportation and service revenue is included because it is used by management and certain investors to measure performance by comparison to other logistic service providers. Net transportation and service revenue is not an item recognized by the generally accepted accounting principles in the United States of America, or U.S. GAAP, and should not be considered as an alternative to net income, operating income, or any other indicator of a company's operating performance required by U.S. GAAP. Pangaea’s definition of net transportation and service revenue used here may not be comparable to an operating measure used by other companies.
ITEM 7. MANAGEMENT'S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS
The following discussion should be read in conjunction with our consolidated financial statements and footnotes thereto contained in this report.
Forward Looking Statements
All statements other than statements of historical fact included in this Form 10-K including, without limitation, statements under “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” regarding our financial position, business strategy and the plans and objectives of management for future operations, are forward looking statements. When used in this Form 10-K, words such as “anticipate,” “believe,” “estimate,” “expect,” “intend” and similar expressions, as they relate to us or our management, identify forward looking statements. Such forward looking statements are based on the beliefs of management, as well as assumptions made by, and information currently available to, our management. Actual results could differ materially from those contemplated by the forward looking statements as a result of the risk factors and other factors detailed in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including the risk factors set forth in Part I, Item 1A, above. All subsequent written or oral forward looking statements attributable to us or persons acting on our behalf are qualified in their entirety by this paragraph.
Critical Accounting Policies
The discussion and analysis of the Company’s financial condition and results of operations is based upon the Company’s consolidated financial statements, which have been prepared in accordance with U.S. GAAP. The preparation of those financial statements requires the Company to make estimates and judgments that affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities, revenues, expenses and related disclosure of contingent assets and liabilities at the date of its financial statements. Actual results may differ from these estimates under different assumptions and conditions. Significant estimates include the establishment of the allowance for doubtful accounts, the estimate of salvage value used in determining vessel depreciation expense, the fair value of derivative instruments and the fair value used to calculate the loss on sale and leaseback transactions.
Critical accounting policies are those that reflect significant judgments or uncertainties and potentially result in materially different results under different assumptions and conditions. The critical accounting policies are revenue recognition, deferred revenue, allowance for doubtful accounts, vessel depreciation and long-lived assets impairment considerations.
Revenue Recognition: Voyage revenues represent revenues earned by the Company, principally from providing transportation services under voyage charters. A voyage charter involves the carriage of a specific amount and type of cargo on a load port to discharge port basis, subject to various cargo handling terms. Under a voyage charter, the service revenues are earned and recognized ratably over the duration of the voyage. A contract is accounted for when it has approval and commitment from both parties, the rights and payment terms are identified, the contract has commercial substance and collectability of consideration is probable.
Estimated losses under a voyage charter are provided for in full at the time such losses become probable. Demurrage, which is included in voyage revenues, represents payments by the charterer to the vessel owner when loading and discharging time exceed the stipulated time in the voyage charter. Demurrage is measured in accordance with the provisions of the respective charter agreements and the circumstances under which demurrage revenues arise. Demurrage revenue is included in the calculation of voyage revenue and recognized ratably over the duration of the voyage to which it pertains. Voyage revenue recognized is presented net of address commissions.
Charter revenues relate to a time charter arrangement under which the Company is paid to provide transportation services on a per day basis for a specified period of time. Revenues from time charters are earned and recognized on a straight-line basis over the term of the charter, as the vessel operates under the charter. Revenue is not earned when vessels are offhire.
Deferred Revenue: Billings for services for which revenue is not recognized in the current period are recorded as deferred revenue. All deferred revenue recognized in the accompanying consolidated balance sheets is expected to be realized within 12 months of the balance sheet date.
Allowance for Doubtful Accounts: The Company provides a specific reserve for significant outstanding accounts that are considered potentially uncollectible in whole or in part. In addition, the Company establishes a reserve equal to approximately 25% of accounts receivable balances that are 30 − 180 days past due and approximately 50% of accounts receivable balances that are 180 or more
days past due, and which are not otherwise reserved. The reserve estimates are adjusted as additional information becomes available, or as payments are made.
Vessels and Depreciation: Vessels are stated at cost, which includes contract price and acquisition costs. Significant betterments to vessels are capitalized; maintenance and repairs that do not improve or extend the lives of the vessels are expensed as incurred. Depreciation is provided using the straight-line method over the remaining estimated useful lives of the vessels based on cost less salvage value. Each vessel’s salvage value is equal to the product of its lightweight tonnage and an estimated scrap rate of $300 per lightweight ton which was determined by reference to quoted rates and is reviewed annually. The Company estimates the useful life of its vessels to be 25 years to 30 years from the date of initial delivery from the shipyard. The remaining estimated useful lives of the current fleet are 9 - 23 years. The Company does not incur depreciation expense when vessels are taken out of service for drydocking.
Drydocking Expenses and Amortization: Significant upgrades made to the vessels during drydocking are capitalized when incurred and amortized on a straight-line basis over the five year period until the next drydocking. Costs capitalized as part of the drydocking include direct costs incurred to meet regulatory requirements that add economic life to the vessel, that increase the vessel’s earnings capacity or which improve the vessel’s efficiency. Direct costs include the shipyard costs, parts, inspection fees, steel, blasting and painting. Expenditures for normal maintenance and repairs, whether incurred as part of the drydocking or not, are expensed as incurred. Unamortized drydocking costs of vessels that are sold are written off and included in the calculation of the resulting gain or loss on sale.
Long-lived Assets Impairment Considerations: The carrying values of the Company’s vessels may not represent their fair market value or the amount that could be obtained by selling the vessel at any point in time because the market prices of second-hand vessels tend to fluctuate with changes in charter rates and the pricing of new vessels, which tend to be cyclical. The carrying value of each group of vessels classified as held and used are reviewed for potential impairment when events or changes in circumstances indicate that the carrying value of a particular group may not be fully recoverable. In such instances, an impairment charge would be recognized if the estimate of the undiscounted future cash flows expected to result from the use of the group and its eventual
disposition is less than its carrying value. This assessment is made at the assets group level, which represents the lowest level for which identifiable cash flows are largely independent of other groups of assets. The asset groups established by the Company are defined by vessel size and major characteristic or trade.
The significant factors and assumptions used in the undiscounted projected net operating cash flow analysis include the Company’s estimate of future time charter equivalent "TCE" rates based on current rates under existing charters and contracts. When existing contracts expire, the Company uses an estimated TCE based on actual results and extends these rates out to the end of the vessel’s useful life. TCE rates can be highly volatile, may affect the fair value of the Company’s vessels and may have a significant impact on the Company’s ability to recover the carrying amount of its fleet. Accordingly, the volatility is contemplated in the undiscounted projected net operating cash flow by using a sensitivity analysis based on percent changes in the TCE rates. The Company prepares a series of scenarios in an attempt to capture the range of possible trends and outcomes. Projected net operating cash flows are net of brokerage and address commissions and assume no revenue on scheduled offhire days. The Company uses the current vessel operating expense budget, estimated costs of drydocking and historical general and administrative expenses as the basis for its expected outflows, and applies an inflation factor it considers appropriate. The net of these inflows and outflows, plus an estimated salvage value, constitutes the projected undiscounted future cash flows. If these projected cash flows do not exceed the carrying value of the asset group, an impairment charge would be recognized. Measurement of the impairment loss is based on the fair value of the asset as provided by third parties.
At December 31, 2019, the Company had accepted an offer to sell the m/v Bulk Patriot below the carrying amount of the vessel, to be delivered in the first quarter of 2020. As a result, a loss on impairment of the vessel for an amount totaling $4.8 million, which is equal to the excess of the carrying amount of the asset over the agreed upon sale value less estimated costs to sell, is included in the consolidated statements of operations. The vessel has been classified as held for sale as of December 31, 2019. The Company identified additional potential triggering events that resulted from the loss recognized on the sale of vessels in the fourth quarter of 2019 of $4.6 million.
As a result, the Company evaluated each asset group for impairment by estimating the total undiscounted cash flows expected to result from the use of the asset group and its eventual disposal. The estimated undiscounted future cash flows were higher than the carrying amount of each asset group in the Company's fleet and as such, no other loss on impairment was recognized. No impairment indicator exists during the nine months ended September 30, 2019.
During the fourth quarter ended December 31, 2018, the Company did not identify any potential impairment indicators. During the quarter ended June 30, 2018, the Company identified a potential impairment indicator by reference to industry-wide estimated market values of its vessel groups. As a result, the Company evaluated each group for impairment by estimating the
total undiscounted cash flows expected to result from the use of the group and its eventual disposal. The estimated undiscounted future cash flows were higher than the carrying amount of the vessels in the Company's fleet and as such, no loss on impairment was recognized in that period.
The table set forth below indicates the purchase price of the Company’s vessels and the carrying amount of each vessel as of December 31, 2019.
(In thousands of U.S. dollars)
m/v Nordic Orion
m/v Nordic Odyssey
m/v Nordic Oshima
m/v Nordic Odin
m/v Nordic Olympic
m/v Nordic Oasis
m/v Bulk Pangaea
m/v Bulk Patriot (1)
m/v Bulk Trident
m/v Bulk Beothuk
m/v Bulk Newport
m/v Bulk Freedom
m/v Bulk Pride
m/v Nordic Barents (2)
m/v Bulk Destiny
UMX - 1C
m/v Bulk Endurance
UMX - 1C
Miss Nora G. Pearl
m/v Bulk PODS
m/v Bulk Spirit
m/v Bulk Independence
m/v Bulk Friendship
(1) On October 28, 2019, the Company signed a memorandum of agreement to sell the Bulk Patriot for $4.4 million after brokerage commissions. The Company recorded an impairment charge of $4.8 million, and recorded the carrying amount of the vessel as vessels held for sale in its Consolidated Balance Sheet as of December 31, 2019.
(2) On December 31, 2019, the Company entered into a memorandum of agreement to sell the m/v Nordic Barents, a 1995-built Handymax vessel, to a third party for $4.4 million less broker commission payable to a third party. The sale was completed on February 7, 2020. The vessel assets were classified as held for sale in the Consolidated Balance Sheet as of December 31, 2019.
Use of Estimates
The preparation of financial statements in conformity with U.S. GAAP requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities and disclosure of contingent assets and liabilities at the date of the financial statements and the reported amounts of expenses during the reporting period. Actual results could differ from those estimates.
Recent Issued Accounting Pronouncements Not Yet Adopted
In June 2016, the FASB issued ASU No. 2016-13, Financial Instruments – Credit Losses. For most financial assets, such as trade and other receivables, loans and other instruments, this standard changes the current incurred loss model to a forward-looking expected credit loss model, which generally will result in the earlier recognition of allowances for losses. The new standard is effective for the Company at the beginning of 2023. Entities are required to apply the provisions of the standard through a cumulative-
effect adjustment to retained earnings as of the effective date. The Company is currently assessing the new guidance and its impact on its consolidated financial statements, and it intends to adopt the guidance when it becomes effective in the first quarter of 2023.
Important Financial and Operational Terms and Concepts
The Company uses a variety of financial and operational terms and concepts when analyzing its performance.
These include revenue recognition, deferred revenue, allowance for doubtful accounts, vessels and depreciation and long-lived assets impairment considerations, as defined above as well as the following:
Voyage Expenses. The Company incurs expenses for voyage charters, including bunkers (fuel), port charges, canal tolls, brokerage commissions and cargo handling operations, which are expensed as incurred.
Charter Expenses. The Company charters in vessels to supplement its owned fleet to support its voyage charter operations. The Company hires vessels under time charters with third party vessel owners, and recognizes the charter hire payments as an expense on a straight-line basis over the term of the charter. Charter hire payments are typically made in advance, and the unrecognized portion is reflected as advance hire in the accompanying consolidated balance sheets. Under the time charters, the vessel owner is responsible for the vessel operating costs such as crews, maintenance and repairs, insurance, and stores.
Vessel Operating Expenses. Vessel operating expenses represent the cost to operate the Company’s owned vessels. Vessel operating expenses include crew hire and related costs, the cost of insurance, expenses relating to repairs and maintenance, the cost of spares and consumable stores, tonnage taxes, other miscellaneous expenses, and technical management fees. These expenses are recognized as incurred. Technical management services include day-to-day vessel operations, performing general vessel maintenance, ensuring regulatory and classification society compliance, arranging the hire of crew, and purchasing stores, supplies, and spare parts.
Fleet Data. The Company believes that the measures for analyzing future trends in its results of operations consist of the following:
• Shipping days. The Company defines shipping days as the aggregate number of days in a period during which its owned or chartered-in vessels are performing either a voyage charter (voyage days) or a time charter (time charter days).
• Daily vessel operating expenses. The Company defines daily vessel operating expenses as vessel operating expenses divided by ownership days for the period. Vessel operating expenses include crew hire and related costs, the cost of insurance, expenses relating to repairs and maintenance, the costs of spares and consumable stores, tonnage taxes, other miscellaneous expenses, and technical management fees.
• Chartered in days. The Company defines chartered in days as the aggregate number of days in a period during which it chartered in vessels from third party vessel owners.
• Time Charter Equivalent ‘‘TCE’’ rates. The Company defines TCE rates as total revenues less voyage expenses divided by the length of the voyage, which is consistent with industry standards. TCE rate is a common shipping industry performance measure used primarily to compare daily earnings generated by vessels on time charters with daily earnings generated by vessels on voyage charters, because rates for vessels on voyage charters are generally not expressed in per-day amounts while rates for vessels on time charters generally are expressed in per-day amounts.
The seaborne drybulk transportation industry is cyclical and can be volatile. Overall the Baltic Dry Index (“BDI”), a measure of dry bulk market performance, averaged 1,329 for 2019, down from an average of 1,345 for 2018. Although the average Baltic Dry Index ("BDI") remained flat for 2019 as compared to the average for 2018, there was seasonal volatility within 2019 that saw BDI reach a low of 595 in February and a multi-year high of 2,518 in September. More specifically, and reflecting the composition of the Company's fleet, the average published market rates for Supramax and Panamax vessels decreased approximately 8% from an average of 10,997 in 2018 to 10,093 in 2019. Conversely, the Company's average TCE rates increased 1% in 2019 over the average for 2018, and exceeded the published market rates by an average of 41% for 2019.
Net income attributable to Pangaea Logistics Solutions Ltd. of $11.7 million as compared to $17.8 million for the year ended December 31, 2018.
Income from operations of $23.3 million, down from $36.1 million for 2018.
Earnings per share were $0.27 as compared to $0.42 for the year ended December 31, 2018.
Cash flow from operations of $44.5 million, compared to $40.1 million for the prior year.
Pangaea's TCE rates increased 1% to $14,199 from $14,019 in 2018 while the market average for the year was approximately $10,093 per day.
At December 31, 2019, Pangaea had $53.1 million in cash, restricted cash and cash equivalents.
Results of Operations
Fiscal Year Ended December 31, 2019 Compared to Fiscal Year Ended December 31, 2018
Pangaea’s revenues are derived predominantly from voyage charters and time charters. Total revenue for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2019, was $412.2 million compared to $373.0 million, for the same period in 2018. The number of shipping days increased 7% to 17,376 in the fiscal year ended December 31, 2019, from 16,251 for the same period in 2018. The revenue increase was due to an increase in the number of total shipping days.
Components of revenue are as follows:
Voyage revenues for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2019, increased 14% to $365.7 million from $319.8 million for the same period in 2018. The increase in voyage revenues was driven by a 12% increase in voyage days. Voyage days were 14,199 in the year ended December 31, 2019 and 12,708 in the same period last year. TCE rates were up 1%, as noted above.
Charter revenues decreased 13%, to $46.5 million for the year ended December 31, 2019 from $53.2 million for the year ended December 31, 2018. The decrease in charter revenues was driven by the decrease in time charter days and market rates, as measured by published rates and the BDI, which both decreased by approximately 8% and 1% respectively year over year. The number of time charter days decreased to 3,177 for the year ended December 31, 2019 from 3,543 for the same period in 2018. The decrease in time charter days is primarily due to the utilization of our fleet on voyage charters to serve client cargo demand, as opposed to spot time charters. The optionality of our chartering strategy allows the Company to selectively release excess tonne-days, if any, into the market under time charters arrangements.
Voyage expenses for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2019 were $165.5 million compared to $145.1 million for the year ended 2018, an increase of approximately 14%. The increase in voyage expenses was primarily due the 12% increase in voyage days. The total cost of bunkers consumed in the year ended December 31, 2019 increased approximately 9% from the same period of 2018, which was slightly lower than the increase in voyage days due to a lower average price of fuel in 2019 compared to 2018. The benchmark, Brent crude oil, averaged $64 per barrel in 2019 compared to $71 per barrel in 2018 a decline of approximately 9%.
The Company charters in vessels, typically on short term basis, from other shipowners to supplement its owned fleet. Charter expenses paid to third party shipowners increased to $133.0 million for the year ended December 31, 2019 from $117.0 million for the year ended December 31, 2018. The 14% increase in charter expenses was due to the 5% increase in chartered in days, which were 10,095 in 2019 as compared to 9,650 in 2018. Although the market was relatively flat on average in 2019 as compared to 2018, the performance of certain voyage charters requiring the Company to charter in additional vessels coincided with the BDI reaching a multi-year high in September resulting in an increase in charter expenses paid. This reflects the Company's ability to adapt to changing market conditions by adjusting the chartered-in profile to meet its client's cargo commitments.
Vessel Operating Expenses
Vessel operating expenses increased 14%, from $39.8 million in the year ended December 31, 2018 to $45.3 million for the year ended December 31, 2019. The increase is partially due to the acquisition of three vessels during 2019, which increased the total number of owned days to 7,521 in 2019 versus 7,216 in 2018 a 4% increase year over year, as well as increases in expensed drydock, and lubricant expense during the year. These operating expenses include management fees paid to third party technical managers for ice-class vessels and to the Company's joint venture technical manager for the other vessels. Vessel operating expenses less technical management fee per day were $5,466 for the year ended December 31, 2019 and $4,945 for the year ended December 31, 2018.
General and Administrative Expenses
General and administrative expenses increased from $16.5 million for the year ended December 31, 2018 to $17.4 million for the year ended December 31, 2019. This is primarily due to an increase in incentive compensation and increase in non-cash compensation expense of $1.7 million, which was up from $1.2 million in 2018.
Depreciation and Amortization
Depreciation and amortization expense increased $0.9 million or 5.2% due to the 4% increase in ownership days to 7,521 up from 7,216 in 2018. These additional days are for new vessels, as noted above, which were acquired as part of a fleet renewal plan.
Loss on sale of vessels
The Company recorded a loss of $4.6 million on the sales of the m/v Bulk Juliana and m/v Bulk Bothnia in the year ended December 31, 2019. No loss on the sale of vessels occurred in the year ended December 31, 2018.
Loss on sale and charter-back of vessels
The Company recorded a loss of $0.9 million on the sale and subsequent leaseback of the m/v Bulk Trident in the year ended December 31, 2018.
Impairment of vessel assets
On October 28, 2019, the Company entered into a memorandum of agreement for the sale of m/v Bulk Patriot below the carrying amount of the vessel, to be delivered in the first quarter of 2020. As a result, the Company recorded a loss on impairment of the vessel totaling $4.8 million, which is equal to the excess of the carrying amount of the asset over the agreed upon sale value. Refer to Note 11, "Subsequent Events" for further detail regarding the sale.
Income from Operations
Income from operations was down 36% for the year ended December 31, 2019, to $23.3 million from $36.1 million for the year ended December 31, 2018. This is primarily due to the impairment charge of vessels and loss on sale of vessels in 2019.
Unrealized (Loss) Gain on Derivative Instruments
The Company assesses risk associated with fluctuating future freight rates and bunker prices, when appropriate, actively hedges identified economic risk that may impact the operating income of long-term cargo contracts with forward freight agreements or bunker swaps. The usage of such derivatives can lead to fluctuations in the Company’s reported results from operations on a period-to-period basis. For the year ended December 31, 2019, the Company recorded an unrealized gain on derivative instruments of $2.8 million, representing the unrealized gain in value of open fuel swaps due to an increase in fuel prices during 2019. The change in fair value of the forward freight agreements, or FFAs, was not material at the end December 31, 2019.
Liquidity and Capital Resources
Liquidity and Cash Needs
The Company has historically financed its capital requirements with cash flow from operations, the issuance of common stock, proceeds from related party debt, proceeds from non controlling interests, and proceeds from long-term debt and finance lease financing arrangements. The Company has used its capital primarily to fund operations, vessel acquisitions, and the repayment of debt and the associated interest expense. In 2019 and 2018, the Company took advantage of sale-leaseback financing arrangements to generate $25.6 million and $27.8 million, respectively, of cash for operating and investment activities. The Company may consider debt or additional equity financing alternatives from time to time. However, if market conditions deteriorate, the Company may be unable to raise additional debt or equity financing on acceptable terms or at all. As a result, the Company may be unable to pursue opportunities to expand its business.
At December 31, 2019 and 2018, the Company had working capital of $36.1 million and $34.5 million, respectively.
Considerations made by management in assessing the Company’s ability to continue as a going concern are its ability to consistently generate positive cash flows from operations, which were approximately $44.5 million in 2019, and $40.1 million in 2018; its excess of cash and cash restricted by facility agents over the current portion of secured long-term debt and finance lease obligations, and its focus on contract employment (COAs). In addition, the Company has demonstrated its ability to adapt to changing market conditions by changing the chartered-in profile to meet its cargo commitments. The Company believes that future operating cash flows together with cash on hand, availability of borrowings, and contributions from non controlling interests will be sufficient to meet our future operating and capital expenditure cash requirements for the next 12 months and the foreseeable future. For more information on the results of operations, see Part II. ITEM 7. MANAGEMENT'S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS - Results of Operations.
The Company’s capital expenditures relate to the purchase of vessels and interests in vessels, and to capital improvements to its vessels which are expected to enhance the revenue earning capabilities and safety of these vessels. The Company’s owned and controlled fleet at December 31, 2019 includes: nine Panamax drybulk carriers (six of which are Ice-Class 1A); eight Supramax drybulk carriers, one Handymax Ice-Class 1A drybulk carrier; and two Ultramax drybulk carriers (both of which are Ice-Class IC).
In addition to vessel acquisitions that the Company may undertake in future periods, its other major capital expenditures include funding its program of regularly scheduled drydockings necessary to make improvements to its vessels, as well as to comply with international shipping standards and environmental laws and regulations. This includes installation of ballast water treatment systems required under new regulations, the cost of which will be $0.5 million to $0.7 million per vessel. The Company has some flexibility regarding the timing of drydocking, but the total cost is unpredictable. Funding of these requirements is anticipated to be met with cash from operations. The Company anticipates that this process of recertification will require it to reposition these vessels from a discharge port to shipyard facilities, which will reduce the Company’s available days and operating days during that period.
The following table summarizes Pangaea’s net cash flows from operating, investing and financing activities for the fiscal years ended December 31, 2019 and 2018:
Net cash provided by operating activities
Net cash used in investing activities
Net cash used in financing activities
Net cash provided by operating activities during the year ended December 31, 2019 was $44.5 million, compared to net cash provided by operating activities of $40.1 million during the year ended December 31, 2018. The increase is predominantly due to the increase in net income after adjusting for non-cash losses attributable to impairment of vessels and loss on sale of vessels, and to changes in operating assets and liabilities. Fluctuations in these accounts stem from changes in market rates and to the timing of voyages that are in progress at the balance sheet date.
Net cash used in investing activities was $46.6 million for 2019, which consists primarily of the $41.4 million paid for the acquisition of three vessels, offset by proceeds from the sale of two vessels for $10.4 million. In addition, the Company paid $15.7 million in deposits for the four newbuild vessels under construction.
Net cash used in investing activities was $17.5 million for 2018, which consists primarily of $17.1 million paid to acquire vessels.
Net cash used in financing activities was $0.9 million for 2019, which consists of $14.0 million of proceeds from secured credit facilities and $25.6 million of proceeds from finance lease arrangements; $3.0 million payments of financing fees; $2.6 million repayments of related party debt; repayments of $20.6 million on credit facilities and repayments of $6.6 million on financing arrangements; $8.1 million of dividends paid on common stock and $4.7 million of dividends paid on non-controlling interests; the Company received $5.2 million from the non-controlling interest contribution.
Net cash used in financing activities was $5.0 million for 2018, which consists of $27.8 million of proceeds from financing arrangements; $0.7 million payments of financing fees; $4.1 million of repayments on related party debt; $21.1 million repayments of credit facilities and $3.5 million repayments of financing arrangements; $2.3 million of dividends paid on common stock and $0.9 million of dividends paid on non-controlling interests.
Term Loan Facility of USD 13,000,000 (Nordic Bulk Barents Ltd. and Nordic Bulk Bothnia Ltd.)
Bulk Nordic Oasis Ltd. Loan Agreement (2)
The Amended Senior Facility - Dated May 13, 2019 (formerly The Amended Senior Facility - Dated December 21, 2017) (3)
Bulk Freedom Loan Agreement
109 Long Wharf Commercial Term Loan
Less: unamortized bank fees
Less: current portion
Secured long-term debt, net
See Senior Secured Post-Delivery Term Loan Facility below.
The borrower under this facility is NBHC, of which the Company and its joint venture partners, STST and ASO2020, each own one-third. NBHC is consolidated in accordance with ASC 810-10 and as such, amounts pertaining to the non-controlling ownership held by these third parties in the financial position of NBHC are reported as non-controlling interest in the accompanying balance sheets.
This facility is cross-collateralized by the vessels m/v Bulk Endurance and m/v Bulk Pride, and m/v Bulk Independence and is guaranteed by the Company.
The Senior Secured Post-Delivery Term Loan Facility
On April 14, 2017, the Company, through its wholly owned subsidiaries, Bulk Pangaea, Bulk Patriot, Bulk Juliana, Bulk Trident and Bulk Phoenix, entered into the Fourth Amendatory Agreement, (the "Fourth Amendment"), amending and supplementing the Loan Agreement dated April 15, 2013, as amended by a First Amendatory Agreement dated May 16, 2013, the Second Amendatory Agreement dated August 28, 2013 and the Third Amendatory Agreement dated July 14, 2016. The Fourth Amendment advanced the final repayment dates for Bulk Pangaea and Bulk Patriot, which have since been repaid. Final payment on the Bulk Juliana Secured Note was made on July 19, 2018. The Bulk Trident Secured Note was repaid on June 7, 2018 in conjunction with the sale and leaseback of the vessel, refer to Note 10 "Commitments and Contingencies" for additional information.
Bulk Phoenix Secured Note
Initial amount of $10,000,000, entered into in May 2013, for the acquisition of m/v Bulk Newport. The Fourth Amendment did not change this tranche, the balance of which is payable in two installments of $700,000 and seven installments of $442,858. The final balloon payment of $1,816,659 was paid on July 19, 2019. The interest rate was fixed at 5.09%.
The amended agreement advanced $21,750,000 in respect of each the m/v Nordic Odin and the m/v Nordic Olympic; $13,500,000 in respect of each the m/v Nordic Odyssey and the m/v Nordic Orion, and $21,000,000 in respect of the m/v Nordic Oshima.
The agreement requires repayment of the advances as follows:
In respect of the Odin and Olympic advances, repayment to be made in 28 equal quarterly installments of $375,000 per borrower (one of which was paid prior to the amendment by each borrower) and balloon payments of $11,233,150 due with each of the final installments in January 2022.
In respect of the Odyssey and Orion advances, repayment to be made in 20 quarterly installments of $375,000 per borrower and balloon payments of $5,677,203 due with each of the final installments in September 2020.
In respect of the Oshima advance, repayment to be made in 28 equal quarterly installments of $375,000 and a balloon payment of $11,254,295 due with the final installment in September 2021.
Interest on 50% of the advances to Odyssey and Orion was fixed at 4.24% in March 2017. Interest on the remaining advances to Odyssey and Orion is floating at LIBOR plus 2.40% (4.36% at December 31, 2019). Interest on 50% of the advances to Odin and Olympic was fixed at 3.95% in January 2017. Interest on the remaining advances to Odin and Olympic was floating at LIBOR plus 2.0% and was fixed at 4.07% on April 27, 2017. Interest on 50% of the advance to Oshima was fixed at 4.16% in January 2017. Interest on the remaining advance to Oshima is floating at LIBOR plus 2.25% (4.15% at December 31, 2019).
The amended loan is secured by first preferred mortgages on the m/v Nordic Odin, m/v Nordic Olympic, m/v Nordic Odyssey, m/v Nordic Orion and m/v Nordic Oshima, the assignment of earnings, insurances and requisite compensation of the five entities, and by guarantees of their shareholders.
The amended agreement contains one financial covenant that requires the Company to maintain minimum liquidity and a collateral maintenance ratio clause, which requires the aggregate fair market value of the vessels plus the net realizable value of any additional collateral provided, to remain above defined ratios. At December 31, 2019 and December 31, 2018, the Company was in compliance with this clause.
Term Loan Facility of USD 13,000,000 (Nordic Bulk Barents Ltd. and Nordic Bulk Bothnia Ltd.)
Barents and Bothnia entered into a secured Term Loan Facility of $13,000,000 in two tranches of $6,500,000 which were drawn in conjunction with the delivery of the m/v Nordic Bothnia on January 23, 2014 and the m/v Nordic Barents on March 7, 2014. The loan is secured by mortgages on the m/v Nordic Barents and m/v Nordic Bothnia and is guaranteed by the Company.
The loan requires repayment in 22 equal quarterly installments of $163,045 (per borrower) beginning in June 2014, one installment of $163,010 (per borrower) and a balloon payment of $1,755,415 (per borrower) due in December 2019. The term loan was fully repaid on June 2019.
The Bulk Nordic Oasis Ltd. - Loan Agreement - Dated December 11, 2015
The agreement advanced $21,500,000 in respect of the m/v Nordic Oasis. The agreement requires repayment of the advance in 24 equal quarterly installments of $375,000 beginning on March 28, 2016 and a balloon payment of $12,500,000 due with the final installment in March 2022. Interest on this advance is fixed at 4.30%.
The loan is secured by a first preferred mortgage on the m/v Nordic Oasis, the assignment of earnings, insurances and requisite compensation of the entity, and by guarantees of its shareholders. Additionally, the agreement contains a collateral maintenance ratio clause which requires the fair market value of the vessel plus the net realizable value of any additional collateral previously provided, to remain above defined ratios. As of December 31, 2019 and December 31, 2018, the Company was in compliance with this covenant.
The Amended Senior Facility - Dated May 13, 2019 (previously identified as The Amended Senior Facility - Dated December 21, 2017)
On May 13, 2019, the Company, through its wholly owned subsidiaries, Bulk Endurance, Bulk Pride and Bulk Independence entered into the Second Amendatory Agreement, (the "Second Amendment"), amending and supplementing the First Amendatory Agreement dated December 17, 2017. The Second Amendment advanced $14,000,000 under Tranche E in respect to the m/v Bulk Independence, extended maturity dates on Tranche A, B, and C to May 2024, and reduced applicable interest rate margin on Tranche A, B, and C to 1.70% for the first eight quarters following the drawdown of Tranche E, and 2.40% thereafter.
Bulk Endurance Tranche A and B
The amended agreement advanced $19,500,000 in respect of the m/v Bulk Endurance on January 7, 2017, in two tranches. The agreement requires repayment of Tranche A, totaling $16,000,000, in three equal quarterly installments of $100,000 beginning on April 7, 2017 and 27 equal quarterly installments of $266,667. A balloon payment of $8,766,658 is due with the final installment in May 2024. Interest on this advance was fixed at 3.69% through March 2021, fixed at 4.39% through December 2021, and fixed at 3.46% thereafter. The agreement also advanced $3,500,000 under Tranche B, which is payable in 28 equal quarterly installments of $65,000 beginning on September 27, 2017, and a balloon payment of $1,745,000 due with the final installment in May 2024. Interest on this advance is floating at LIBOR plus 1.70% (3.80% at December 31, 2019) through March 2021, and thereafter at Libor plus 2.4%.
Bulk Pride Tranche C and D
The amended agreement advanced $10,000,000 in respect of the m/v Bulk Pride on December 21, 2017, in two tranches. The agreement requires repayment of Tranche C, totaling $8,500,000, in 26 equal quarterly installments of $275,000 beginning in March 2018 and a balloon payment of $1,350,000 due with the final installment in May 2024. Interest on this advance was fixed at 4.69% through March 2021, fixed at 5.39% through December 2021, and fixed at 3.6% thereafter. The gross carrying value of the debt was $6,300,000 as of December 31, 2019, which excludes debt issuance costs. The agreement also advanced $1,500,000 under Tranche D, which is payable in 4 equal quarterly installments of $375,000 beginning in September 2018. Tranche D was fully repaid in June 2019.
Bulk Independence Tranche E
The amended agreement advanced $14,000,000 under Tranche E in respect of the m/v Bulk Independence on May 13, 2019, which requires repayment of 20 equal quarterly installments of $250,000 beginning in September 2019 and a balloon payment of $9,000,000 due with the final installment in May 2024. Interest on this advance was fixed at 3.48% through March 31, 2020, fixed at 2.84% thruough December 31, 2021 and fixed at 3.54% thereafter.
The loan is secured by first preferred mortgages on the m/v Bulk Endurance, the m/v Bulk Pride and the m/v Bulk Independence, the assignment of earnings, insurances and requisite compensation of the entity, and by guarantees of its shareholders. Additionally, the agreement contains a minimum liquidity requirement, positive working capital of the borrower and a collateral maintenance ratio clause which requires the fair market value of the vessel plus the net realizable value of any additional collateral previously provided, to remain above defined ratios. At December 31, 2019 and December 31, 2018, the Company was in compliance with these covenants.
The Bulk Freedom Corp. Loan Agreement -- Dated June 14, 2017
The agreement advanced $5,500,000 in respect of the m/v Bulk Freedom on June 14, 2017. The agreement requires repayment of the loan in 8 quarterly installments of $175,000 and 12 quarterly installments of $150,000 beginning on September 14, 2017. A balloon payment of $2,300,000 is due with the final installment. The facility bears interest at LIBOR plus a margin of 3.75% (5.64% at December 31, 2019).
The loan is secured by a first preferred mortgage on the m/v Bulk Freedom, the assignment of earnings, insurances and requisite compensation of the entity, and by guarantees of its shareholders. Additionally, the agreement contains a collateral maintenance ratio clause which requires the fair market value of the vessel plus the net realizable value of any additional collateral previously provided, to remain above defined ratios. At December 31, 2019 and December 31, 2018, the Company was in compliance with these covenants.
109 Long Wharf Commercial Term Loan
Initial amount of $1,096,000 entered into on May 27, 2016. The Long Wharf Construction to Term Loan was repaid from the proceeds of this new facility. The loan is payable in 120 equal monthly installments of $9,133. Interest is floating at the 30 day LIBOR plus 2.00% (3.69% at December 31, 2019). The loan is collateralized by all real estate located at 109 Long Wharf, Newport, RI, and a corporate guarantee of the Company. The loan contains a maximum loan to value covenant and a debt service coverage ratio. At December 31, 2019 and December 31, 2018, the Company was in compliance with these covenants.
The future minimum annual payments under the debt agreements are as follows:
Years ending December 31,
With the exception of the Company’s related party loans, certain debt agreements contain financial covenants, which require it, among other things, to maintain:
a consolidated leverage ratio of at least 200%;
a consolidated debt service ratio of at least 120%;
a minimum consolidated net worth of $45 million; plus 25% of the purchase price or (finance) lease amount of such vessels; and
a consolidated minimum liquidity of not less than $18.0 million.
Certain debt agreements also contain restrictive covenants, which may limit it and its subsidiaries’ ability to, among other things:
effect changes in management of the Company’s vessels;
sell or dispose of any of the Company’s assets, including its vessels;
declare and pay dividends;
incur additional indebtedness;
mortgage the Company’s vessels; and
incur and pay management fees or commissions.
A violation of any of the Company’s financial covenants or operating restrictions contained in its credit facilities may constitute an event of default under its credit facilities, which, unless cured within the grace period set forth under the applicable credit facility, if applicable, or waived or modified by the Company’s lenders, provides its lenders with the right to, among other things, require the Company to post additional collateral, enhance its equity and liquidity, increase its interest payments, pay down its indebtedness to a level where it is in compliance with its loan covenants, sell vessels in its fleet, reclassify its indebtedness as current liabilities and accelerate its indebtedness and foreclose their liens on its vessels and the other assets securing the credit facilities, which would impair the Company’s ability to continue to conduct its business.
Certain of the Company’s credit facilities contain a cross-default provision that may be triggered by a default under one of its other credit facilities. A cross-default provision means that a default on one loan would result in a default on certain other loans. Because of the presence of cross-default provisions in certain of the Company’s credit facilities, the refusal of any one lender under its credit facilities to grant or extend a waiver could result in certain of the Company’s indebtedness being accelerated, even if its other lenders under the Company’s credit facilities have waived covenant defaults under the respective credit facilities. If the Company’s secured indebtedness is accelerated in full or in part, it would be very difficult in the current financing environment for the Company to refinance its debt or obtain additional financing and the Company could lose its vessels and other assets securing its credit facilities if the Company’s lenders foreclose their liens, which would adversely affect the Company’s ability to conduct its business.
In connection with any waivers of or amendments to the Company’s credit facilities that it may obtain, its lenders may impose additional operating and financial restrictions on the Company or modify the terms of its existing credit facilities. These restrictions may further restrict the Company’s ability to, among other things, pay dividends, make capital expenditures or incur additional indebtedness, including through the issuance of guarantees. In addition, the Company’s lenders may require the payment of additional
fees, require prepayment of a portion of its indebtedness to them, accelerate the amortization schedule for the Company’s indebtedness and increase the interest rates they charge the Company on its outstanding indebtedness.
Other Long-Term Liabilities
In September 2019, the Company entered into an LLC agreement for the formation of NBP, that, at inception is owned 75% by the Company and 25% by an independent third party. NBP was established for the purpose of constructing and owning four new-build ice class post panamax vessels. During the construction phase of the vessel, the third party has committed to contribute additional funding and ultimately own 50% of NBP at the time of delivery of the new-build ice class post panamax vessels. The agreement contains both a put and call option provisions. Accordingly, the Company may be obligated, pursuant to the put option, or entitled to, pursuant to the call option, to purchase the third party's interest in NBP beginning anytime after September 2026. The put option and call option are at fixed prices which are not significantly different from each other, starting at $4.0 million per vessel on the fourth anniversary from completion and delivery of each vessel and declining to $3.7 million per vessel on or after the seventh anniversary from completion and delivery of each vessel. If neither put nor call option is exercised, the Company is obligated to purchase the vessels from NBP at a fixed price. Pursuant to ASC 480, Distinguishing Liabilities from Equity, the Company has recorded the third party's interest in NBP of $4.8 million in Long term liabilities - Other at December 31, 2019. Earnings attributable to the third party’s interest in NBP are recorded in Interest expense, net.
Related Party Transactions
Amounts and notes payable to related parties consist of the following:
December 31, 2018
December 31, 2019
Included in trade accounts receivable and voyage revenue on the consolidated balance sheets and statements of income, respectively:
Trade receivables due from King George Slag(i)
Included in accounts payable and accrued expenses on the consolidated balance sheets:
Trade payables due to Seamar (ii)
Included in current related party notes payable on the consolidated balance sheets:
Loan payable – 2011 Founders Note
Interest payable – 2011 Founders Note
Total current related party notes payable
King George Slag LLC is a joint venture of which the Company owns 25%.
Seamar Management S.A. ("Seamar")
In November 2014, the Company entered into a $5 million Promissory Note (the “Note”) with Bulk Invest Ltd., a company controlled by shareholders collectively referred to as the Founders. The $2 million outstanding balance on the Note was repaid on February 6, 2018.
On October 1, 2011, the Company entered into a $10,000,000 loan agreement with the Founders, which was payable on demand at the request of the lenders (the 2011 Founders Note). The note bears interest at a rate of 5%. The outstanding balance of $2,595,000 was repaid in full as of December 31, 2019.
Under the terms of a technical management agreement between the Company and Seamar Management S.A. (Seamar), an equity method investee, Seamar is responsible for the day-to-day operation of some of the Company’s owned vessels. During the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2018, the Company incurred technical management fees of $3,364,200 and $3,072,000 under this arrangement, which is included in vessel operating expenses in the consolidated statements of income. The total amounts payable
to Seamar at December 31, 2019 and 2018, (including amounts due for vessel operating expenses), were $5,679,768 and $1,971,935, respectively.
Accrued dividends consist of the following:
2013 common stock dividend (2)
2013 Odyssey and Orion dividend (2)
Dividends earned on Restricted shares (1)
Balance at December 31, 2017
Paid in cash
Balance at December 31, 2018
Paid in cash
Balance at December 31, 2019
(1) Accrued dividends on unvested restricted shares under the Company's incentive compensation plan.
(2) Payable to related parties.
The following sets forth the Company's long-term contractual obligations as of December 31, 2019.
Payments due by period
Less than 1 year
More than 5 years
Secured long-term debt
Finance lease obligations
Other - Note 11
Effect of Inflation
We do not believe that inflation has had a material effect on our business, results of operations or financial condition in the past two years.
Off-Balance Sheet Arrangements
We do not have any off-balance sheet arrangements as of December 31, 2019 or 2018.
ITEM 7A. QUANTITATIVE AND QUALITATIVE DISCLOSURES
Not applicable for a smaller reporting company.
ITEM 8. FINANCIAL STATEMENTS AND SUPPLEMENTARY DATA
This information appears following Item 15 of this Report and is included herein by reference.
ITEM 9. CHANGES IN AND DISAGREEMENTS WITH ACCOUNTANTS ON ACCOUNTING AND FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE
ITEM 9A. CONTROLS AND PROCEDURES.
Management’s Evaluation of Disclosure Controls and Procedures
As of December 31, 2019, we carried out an evaluation, under the supervision and with the participation of management, including our Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer; of the effectiveness of our disclosure controls and procedures as such term is defined in Rule 13a-15(e). Based on that evaluation, our Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer concluded that our disclosure controls and procedures were effective as of December 31, 2019.
Changes in Internal Controls over Financial Reporting
There were no changes in our internal control over financial reporting during the fiscal year covered by this report that materially affected, or are reasonably likely to materially affect, our internal control over financial reporting.
Management’s Report on Internal Control over Financial Reporting
Management is responsible for establishing and maintaining adequate internal control over financial reporting for Pangaea Logistics Solutions Ltd. as such term is defined in the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Our internal control structure is designed to provide reasonable assurance that assets are safeguarded and that transactions are properly executed and recorded. The internal control structure includes, among other things, established policies and procedures, the selection and training of qualified personnel as well as management oversight.
With the participation of our management, we performed an evaluation of the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting based on criteria established in Internal Control – Integrated Framework issued by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (2013 Framework). Based on our evaluation under the 2013 Framework, we have concluded that Pangaea Logistics Solutions Ltd. maintained, in all material respects, effective internal control over financial reporting as of December 31, 2019.
This annual report does not include an attestation report of the Company’s registered independent accounting firm due to reduced requirements for smaller reporting companies under the Securities Exchange Act.
The Company utilizes information technology for internal and external communications with brokers, customers, banks, technical managers and its vessels. It also uses customized software as part of its management and reporting systems. Loss, disruption or compromise of these systems could significantly impact operations and results.
The Company is not aware of any material cybersecurity violation or occurrence. We believe our efforts toward prevention of such violation or occurrence, including system design, user training and monitoring of system access, limit, but may not prevent unauthorized access to our systems.
Other than temporary disruption to operations that may be caused by a cybersecurity breach, the Company considers cash transactions to be the primary risk for potential loss. The Company and its financial institutions take steps to minimize the risk by requiring multiple levels of authorization, encryption and other controls.
Limitations on the Effectiveness of Controls
A control system, no matter how well conceived and operated, can provide only reasonable, not absolute, assurance that the objectives of the control system are met. Also, projections of any evaluation of effectiveness to future periods are subject to the risk that controls may become inadequate because of changes in conditions, or that the degree of compliance with the policies or procedures may deteriorate. Because of the inherent limitations in all control systems, no evaluation of controls can provide absolute assurance that all control issues and instances of fraud, if any, within a company have been detected. Our disclosure controls and procedures and internal control over financial reporting are designed to provide reasonable assurance of achieving their objectives.
ITEM 9B. OTHER INFORMATION.
ITEM 10. DIRECTORS, EXECUTIVE OFFICERS AND CORPORATE GOVERNANCE
Directors and Executive Officers
Our current directors and executive officers are as follows:
Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer
Mark L. Filanowski
Chief Operating Officer and Director
Gianni Del Signore
Chief Financial Officer
Carl Claus Boggild
President and Director
Richard T. du Moulin
Eric S. Rosenfeld
David D. Sgro
Class I Directors with Terms Expiring in 2021
Eric S. Rosenfeld. Mr. Rosenfeld serves as a director of the Company. He has been the President and Chief Executive Officer of Crescendo Partners, L.P., a New York based investment firm, since its formation in November 1998. Prior to forming Crescendo Partners, he held the position of Managing Director at CIBC Oppenheimer and its predecessor company Oppenheimer & Co., Inc. for 14 years. Mr. Rosenfeld currently serves as a director for CPI Aerostructures Inc., a company engaged in the contract production of structural aircraft parts, for which he also serves as Chairman, Absolute Software Corp., a leader in firmware-embedded endpoint security and management for computers and ultraportable devices and Aecon Group Inc., a Toronto based construction company. Mr. Rosenfeld also is the lead independent director of the Cott Corporation, a manufacturer and distributor of beverages. Currently Mr. Rosenfeld serves as the Chairman and CEO of Harmony Merger Corp., a blank-check company. He was Chairman and CEO of Quartet Merger Corp., a blank-check company that merged with Pangaea. Mr. Rosenfeld has also served as a director for numerous companies, including Arpeggio Acquisition Corporation, Rhapsody Acquisition Corporation and Trio Merger Corp., all blank check companies that later merged with Hill International, Primoris Services Corporation and SAExploration Holdings Inc., respectively. He also served on the board of directors of Sierra Systems Group Inc., an information technology, management consulting and systems integration firm, SAExploration Holdings Inc., a seismic data services company, Emergis Inc., an electronic commerce company, Hill International, a construction management firm, Matrikon Inc., a company that provides industrial intelligence solutions, DALSA Corp., a digital imaging and semiconductor firm, GEAC Computer, a software company, and Computer Horizons Corp., an IT services company. Mr. Rosenfeld is a regular guest lecturer at Columbia Business School and has served on numerous panels at Queen’s University Business Law School Symposia, McGill Law School, the World Presidents’ Organization and the Value Investing Congress. He is a senior faculty member at the Director’s College. He has also been a regular guest host on CNBC. Mr. Rosenfeld received an A.B. in economics from Brown University and an M.B.A. from the Harvard Business School. The board nominated Mr. Rosenfeld to be a director because he has extensive experience serving on the boards of multinational public companies and in capital markets and mergers and acquisitions transactions. Mr. Rosenfeld also has valuable experience in the operation of a worldwide business faced with a myriad of international business issues. Mr. Rosenfeld’s leadership and consensus-building skills, together with his experience as senior independent director of all boards on which he currently serves, make him an effective board member.
Richard T. du Moulin. Mr. du Moulin is currently the President of Intrepid Shipping LLC, a position he has held since he founded Intrepid in 2002. From 1974, he spent 15 years with OMI Corporation, where he served as Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer, and as a member of the company's Board of Directors. From 1998 to 2002, Mr. du Moulin served as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Marine Transport Corporation. From 1989 to 1998, Mr. du Moulin served as Chairman and CEO of Marine Transport Lines. Mr. du Moulin is a member of the Board of Trustees and Chairman of the Seamens Church Institute of New York and New Jersey. He currently serves as a Director of Teekay Tankers and an advisor to Hudson Structured Capital Management. Mr. du Moulin served as Chairman of Intertanko, the leading trade organization for the tanker industry, from 1996 to 1999. Mr. du Moulin served in the US Navy and is a recipient of the US Coast Guard's Distinguished Service Medal. He received a BA from Dartmouth College and an MBA from Harvard University. Mr. du Moulin’s qualifications to sit on our board include his operational experience and deep knowledge of the shipping industry.
Mark L. Filanowski. Mr. Filanowski was appointed to the position of Chief Operating Officer of the Company in January 2017, prior to which time he served as a consultant to the Company from 2014 to 2016. He has been a board member of the Company since 2014. Mr. Filanowski formed Intrepid Shipping LLC with another board member, Richard du Moulin, in 2002; Intrepid Shipping operates a small fleet of chemical tankers and handy bulkers. Mr. Filanowski started his career at Ernst & Young, and worked as a Certified Public Accountant at EY from 1976 to 1984. Mr. Filanowski spent 4 years at Armtek Corporation, where he served as Vice President and Controller. From 1989 to 2002, he served as Chief Financial Officer and Senior Vice President at Marine Transport Corporation, and he is a member of the American Bureau of Shipping. He has served as the Chairman of the Board at Arvak and at Shoreline Mutual (Bermuda) Ltd., both marine insurance companies. He earned a BS from University of Connecticut and an MBA from New York University. Mr. Filanowski’s experience in many aspects of the shipping industry, his participation as a director on other independent company boards, and his financial background, qualifications, and experience, make him a valuable part of the Company’s board.
Anthony Laura. Mr. Laura is a founder of Pangaea and served as its Chief Financial Officer from the Company's inception until his retirement in April 2017. Prior to co-founding Bulk Partners Ltd., the predecessor to Pangaea, in 1996, Mr. Laura spent 10 years as CFO of Commodity Ocean Transport Corporation (COTCO). Mr. Laura also served as Chief Financial Officer at Navinvest Marine Services from 1986 to 2002. Mr. Laura is a graduate of Fordham University.
Class II Directors with Terms Expiring in 2022
Paul Hong. Mr. Hong serves as a director of the Company. Mr. Hong is a Senior Managing Director at Cartesian Capital Group. Prior to joining Cartesian, Paul served as Senior Vice President and General Counsel of AIG Capital Partners. Paul was previously an attorney in the corporate and tax departments of Kirkland & Ellis where he specialized in private equity transactions. Paul holds an AB in Economics from Columbia College, a JD from Columbia Law School, and an LLM in Taxation from New York University Law School. Mr. Hong’s qualifications to sit on our board include his substantial experience in the areas of business management and financial and investment expertise.
Carl Claus Boggild. Mr. Boggild is a founder of Pangaea and served as its President (Brazil) from the Company's inception until his retirement in 2016. Prior to co-founding Bulk Partners Ltd., the predecessor company to Pangaea, in 1996, Mr. Boggild was Director of Chartering and Operations at the Korf Group of Germany. He also was a partner at Trasafra Ltd., a Brazilian agent for the largest independent grain parcel operator from Argentina and Brazil to Europe. He worked for Hudson Trading and Chartering where he was responsible for Brazilian related transportation services. As President of COTCO, he was responsible for the operations of its affiliate Handy Bulk Carriers Corporation. Prior to becoming President of COTCO, Mr. Boggild was an Executive Vice President and was responsible for its Latin American operations. Mr. Boggild holds a diploma in International Maritime Law. Mr. Boggild’s qualifications to sit on our board include his operational experience and deep knowledge of the shipping industry.
David D. Sgro. Mr. Sgro serves as a director of the Company. Mr. Sgro served as Quartet’s chief financial officer, secretary and a member of its Board of Directors. He has been the Head of Research of Jamarant Capital Mgmt. since its inception in 2015. Mr. Sgro has been a Senior Managing Director of Crescendo from December 2013 to the present and has held various positions with Crescendo since May 2005. Mr. Sgro presently serves or has served on the board of directors of NextDecade Corporation, Trio, Primoris, Bridgewater Systems, Inc., SAExploration Holdings, Harmony Merger Corp., Imvescor Restaurant Group, Hill Intl., BSM Technologies and COM DEV International Ltd. Mr. Sgro attended Columbia Business School and prior to that, Mr. Sgro worked as an analyst and then senior analyst at Management Planning, Inc., a firm engaged in the valuation of privately held companies. Simultaneously, Mr. Sgro worked as an associate with MPI Securities, Management Planning, Inc.’s boutique investment banking affiliate. From June 2004 to August 2004, Mr. Sgro worked as an analyst intern at Brandes Investment Partners. Mr. Sgro received a B.S. in Finance from The College of New Jersey and an M.B.A. from Columbia Business School. In 2001, he became a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA®) Charterholder. Mr. Sgro is a regular guest lecturer at the College of New Jersey and Columbia Business School.
Class III Directors with Terms Expiring in 2020
Edward Coll. Mr. Coll is the Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Coll is a founder of Pangaea and has served as its Chief Executive Officer since its inception. Prior to co-founding Bulk Partners Ltd., the predecessor company to Pangaea, in 1996, Mr. Coll spent 10 years at Continental Grain Company with assignments in New York, New Orleans, Rome and Rotterdam. He joined Commodity Ocean Transport Corp (COTCO) in 1989 and became president of the company in 1993. In this position, Mr. Coll was responsible for the overall activities and businesses of three U.S public shipping companies. Mr. Coll is an elected member of the American Bureau of Shipping and has considerable expertise in the worldwide shipping and commodities markets and lectures regularly on these topics. He holds a B.S. in nautical science from the United States Merchant Marine Academy at
Kings Point and a master's degree in international business from Pace University. Mr. Coll’s qualifications to sit on our board include his operational experience and deep knowledge of the shipping industry.
Nam H. Trinh. Mr. Nam H. Trinh is a Director at Cartesian Capital Group. Prior to joining Cartesian, Mr. Trinh worked at a Wall Street investment bank as an associate providing mergers and acquisitions advisory services. Previously, Nam served in the assurance and advisory practice at Deloitte. Nam graduated cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania, where he received a BS in economics with concentrations in finance, accounting and statistics from The Wharton School and a BSE in computer science and engineering from The School of Engineering and Applied Science. Mr. Trinh is a CFA® charterholder. Mr. Trinh's qualifications to serve on the board include his substantial experience in the areas of business management and financial and investment expertise.
Messrs. Rosenfeld, Trinh and Sgro serve on the Registrant’s audit committee. Messrs. du Moulin, Rosenfeld and Hong serve on the Registrant’s compensation committee and nominating committee.
Section 16(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 requires our officers, directors and persons who own more than ten percent of a registered class of our equity securities to file reports of ownership and changes in ownership with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Officers, directors and ten percent stockholders are required by regulation to furnish us with copies of all Section 16(a) reports they file. Based solely on a review of such reports received by us and written representations from certain reporting persons that no Form 5s were required for those persons, we believe that, during the fiscal year ended December 31, 2019, all reports required to be filed by our officers, directors and persons who own more than ten percent of a registered class of our equity securities were filed on a timely basis.
Code of Ethics
In October 2014, our board of directors adopted a code of ethics that applies to directors, officers, and employees of ours and of any subsidiaries we may have in the future (including our principal executive officer, our principal financial officer, our principal accounting officer or controller, and persons performing similar functions). We will provide, without charge, upon request, copies of our code of ethics. Requests for copies of our code of ethics should be sent in writing to Phoenix Bulk Carriers (US) LLC, 109 Long Wharf, Newport, RI 02840.
Effective October 2014, we established an audit committee of the board of directors, which is comprised of Eric Rosenfeld, David Sgro and, effective August 14, 2017, Nam Trinh who replaced Paul Hong. Each member of the audit committee is an independent director. The audit committee’s duties, which are specified in our Audit Committee Charter, include, but are not limited to:
appoint and retain the independent auditor and approve the independent auditor’s compensation. The Committee shall have the sole authority to terminate the independent auditor;
pre-approve all audit services and permitted non-audit services to be performed for the Company by the independent auditor. The Committee may delegate authority to pre-approve audit services, other than the audit of the Company’s annual financial statements, and permitted non-audit services to one or more members, provided that decisions made pursuant to such delegated authority shall be presented to the full Committee at its next scheduled meeting;
evaluate the independent auditor’s qualification, performance and independence on an annual basis;
review with management and the independent auditor the audited financial statements to be included in the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K to be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission;
review with the independent auditor any difficulties the auditor encountered in the course of the audit work, including any restrictions on the scope of the independent auditor’s activities and any significant disagreements with management and management’s response;
recommend to the full Board, based on the Committee’s review and discussion with management and the independent auditor, that the audited financial statements be included in the Company’s Form 10-K;
review the interim financial statements with management and the independent auditor prior to the filing of the Company’s Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q;
discuss with management the disclosures under “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations;”
prior to the filing of each quarterly report, the Committee shall discuss with management and the independent auditor the quality and adequacy of the Company’s (1) internal controls for financial reporting, including any audit steps adopted in light of internal control deficiencies and (2) disclosure controls and procedures;
discuss with the independent auditor the auditor’s judgment about the quality, not just the acceptability, of the Company’s accounting principles, as applied in its financial statements and as selected by management;
monitor the Company’s assessment and plan to manage any key enterprise risks assigned to the Committee by the Board from time to time and discuss the Company’s major financial risk exposures and the steps that management has taken to monitor and control such exposures;
establish procedures for the receipt, retention and treatment of complaints received by the Company regarding accounting, internal accounting controls or auditing matters and the confidential, anonymous submission by employees of the Company of concerns regarding questionable accounting or auditing matters;