WikiLeaks logo
The Global Intelligence Files,
files released so far...

The Global Intelligence Files

The Global Intelligence Files

On Monday February 27th, 2012, WikiLeaks began publishing The Global Intelligence Files, over five million e-mails from the Texas headquartered "global intelligence" company Stratfor. The e-mails date between July 2004 and late December 2011. They reveal the inner workings of a company that fronts as an intelligence publisher, but provides confidential intelligence services to large corporations, such as Bhopal's Dow Chemical Co., Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and government agencies, including the US Department of Homeland Security, the US Marines and the US Defence Intelligence Agency. The emails show Stratfor's web of informers, pay-off structure, payment laundering techniques and psychological methods.

[alpha] INSIGHT - CN65 Re: DISPATCH PROPOSAL/DISCUSSION - The problems with Cosco and its bigger implications

Released on 2012-02-29 14:00 GMT

Email-ID 116613
Date 2011-09-01 14:25:14
**Source helped me to flesh out some of the comments on the piece and
Please see my comments in red. I know my stuff here. I specialised in
shipping law at Oxford, and I have been talking to my shipbroker about the
matter in the last few days. My shipbroker is in one of the biggest
broking firms in the world, and he specialises in capesize dry bulk. I
reckon he know's his stuff also.
SOURCE: via CN65
ATTRIBUTION: Australian contact connected with the government and
natural resources
SOURCE DESCRIPTION: Former Australian Senator

Navios Maritime partners is currently in the midst of a contract

dispute with China's shipping company, Cosco. The recent dispute

has resulting in the seizure of at least three Cosco ships in

various ports worldwide.

Cosco is accused of withholding charter payments for ships that it

chartered long-term for upwards of $80,000 per day during the

dry-bulk shipping boom in 2008. The current average spot-market

rates to charter capesize vessels are a little under $17,000.

Moody's has said that any downward negotiation of contracted

rates would negatively affect dry bulk shipowners worldwide.

According to Moody's any renegotiation of contracts could set a

precedent for other Chinese companies.*drop the moody's reference

irrelevant* I think Moody's are right. It adds risk for all the
companies that build and own ships but bareboat charter them.
You've seen the stats I've sent you on the number and total dwt
of the capesize fleet world wide. A large number of these are on
bareboat charter. That is a real risk for the financial viability
of the shipping sector, especially given that capesize rates are
close to opex at the moment.

Why does this matter?

According to intelligence gathered from the coal industry that

frequently uses Cosco's services, one of the most fundamental

about shipping law is that it is "black letter law", meaning that

the contracts are inviolable.*er...its a nice thought but these

rates change all the time -- what's important is that they not

change during a sail* Charter rates vary daily on the spot market
for time charters, that is chartering a ship to take a stem from
one port to another. They are fixed at the time the ship is
contracted. However, the ships Cosco chartered are bareboat
charters, not time charters, and the charter rates were set years
ago for the duration of the charter. If you don't own your own
ships, but bareboat charter them, you have two types of risk:
business risk in getting sufficient stems and back loads to make
the ship profitable on opex; and the risk that the spread between
your bareboat charter rate and the time charter rate doesn't move
against you as it did in this case with Cosco. They're screwed.

For China in particular this could have important implications

beyond just their shipping industry, and could affect Chinese

sovereign risk. Some foreign commodity traders have already begun

to refuse sourcing requests from Chinese *shipping? *companies to

protect their reputations.*am i understanding that? they're

to use chinese ships?* The broader sovereign risk issue is why
buyers like Rizhao are being locked out of the iron ore market in
Australia, as well as a host of smaller companies which have not
defaulted, but which are assessed as possibly likely to do so. On
the shipping front, the concern I mentioned came from the
representative of a Chinese buyer who has chartered Cosco to take
a stem from Gladstone to Xiamen is real. If Cosco's ship turns up
and is arrested, the buyer is liable to the seller for the failure
to meet the terms of the contract and present a ship "ready to
load" Gladstone. They may not charter Cosco again until they get
a clean bill of health. If other Chinese shippers take this
approach, then there will be real queries in the market about
Chinese ship operators. In the iron ore market the sellers are
also selling C&F, so why would they take the risk on a Chinese
shipping company when they would be liable to the buyer if the
shipment doesn't arrive?

Both iron ore and coal companies already extract a "China

costing China daily for every shipment they receive. *what's the

premium on? the commodities? the shipping rates?* Not openly
discussed, but probably a couple of dollars a tonne on iron ore.
See my previous estimation of total cost. These issues

started to really become apparent in 2009 in both the coal and

ore industries. And one source in the industry says that these

issues probably cost China over a billion dollars in additional

ore prices each year.*if its in the commodites themselves i'm not

sure what this has to do with shipping?* It is all about broad
perceptions of sovereign risk.

This example is just one of many that exhibits a growing wariness

doing business with China and enforcing legal agreements with

Chinese companies is notoriously hard according to lawyers engaged

in the business.

However, if China can continue to sweeten deals with cheap

there are many international businesses that will continue to

the risks, until the stakes outweigh the benefits.


Benjamin Preisler
+216 22 73 23 19