Investing in ships: The time is now

October 2020 | “To act economically without considering the environment has no future”: In the second part of the interview Jens-Michael Arndt and Markus Lange, managing partners of the shipping company Vogemann and issuers of the Vogemann Green Ship Token, report why the time in investing in ships as handysize bulkers is so interesting right now – and about their decision for more ecology in shipping. 

neoFIN: What do you think makes the investment in handysize bulkers so interesting right now? 

Markus Lange: Our experience from the past decades shows that besides the selection of the right ship, two factors are essential for a successful investment: 

  • the right time to get started and 
  • and the right time to get out

The right time to start investing in ships is ahead of us. Now prices for used ships and also for newbuildings are at a historically low level and therefore very attractive. So we are convinced that now is the right time to invest in Green Ships

Jens Arndt: The newbuilding prices of our “state of the art” Green Dolphins with 40,000 dwt deadweight tonnage are now at the same level as in 2007. At that time we were able to buy a handysize bulker with only 24,000 dwt deadweight tonnage, which was already 10 years old at the time: 

We bought this small 24,000 tonner for US$ 23 million in 2007 and sold it in summer 2008 for just under US$ 40 million! 

neoFIN: How have you financed the construction of new ships in the past, who has been investing?

Markus Lange: Shipping is a very capital-intensive industry. So financing plays a crucial role. In the past, we have financed new ships on the equity side through our shareholders and individual investors. In addition to the equity capital, there was also a moderate amount of debt financing from a German or international bank. On the other hand, equity capital was provided by the German KG system. 

In recent years, the necessary funds to finance projects have been provided by so-called private placements. Therefore we work together with very few selected investors. 

neoFIN: How big is your fleet at present and to what size do you want to bring it in the next few years?

Jens-Michael Arndt: We currently manage 14 ships, including 12 modern handysize bulkers. Over the next 18 months, 5 handysize newbuildings of the world leading Green Dolphin Design with a deadweight tonnage of about 40,000 dwt will be added. 

With the Green Ship Token, we intend to further expand our fleet beyond these 19 vessels. Of course with state-of-the-art, low-emission and energy-efficient bulkers. Our medium and long-term goal is to have a fleet of 25 to 35 modern, low-emission ships. Quality, not quantity, is our top priority. 

neoFIN: Why do you focus on ecology and what inspires you about the Green Dolphins?

Markus Lange: There is no future in acting economically without considering the environment. Many people were made aware of this before the Corona crisis. 

We started to address the topic of more environmentally friendly shipping years ago. At the beginning of 2019 our first Green Dolphin, “Voge Sophie”, was delivered. In our view, it perfectly combines cost-effectiveness and high acceptance in the charter market with significantly reduced emissions for the environment. “Voge Sophie” and her sister “Sea Eagle”  already meets the strict emission values for newbuildings that will apply from 2029. As are the first and only sailing handysize bulker in the world by the way. This is good for the environment. And also for investors, as these ships are in great demand in the charter market.

You can access the first part of the interview “Talking Business” here