BOCOM Leasing extends buying spree with Sinokor boxships

Bank of Communications (BOCOM) Financial Leasing has made more container ships acquisitions, buying four ships from South Korean tonnage provider Sinokor Merchant Marine.

Container News has learnt that two 2011-built 8,586TEU vessels Mediterranean Bridge and Gulf Bridge and two 4,400TEU vessels, Baltic South (2010-built) and Baltic West (2009-built), were sold to BOCOM Financial Leasing in late July 2020.

The sale price was not disclosed, although VesselsValue estimates that the current market value of Mediterranean Bridge and Gulf Bridge is around US$37 million each, while the value of Baltic South and Baltic West is around US$11 million each.

The vessels, all built by the Hyundai Heavy Industries group, are currently operated by CMA CGM.

Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, BOCOM Leasing has purchased a number of container ships en bloc this year, from companies such as Hapag-Lloyd, Navios Maritime, Costamare and Seaspan Corporation. A source from the Chinese finance lessor told Container News that BOCOM Financial Leasing manages its risks by going for ships that have long-term employment in place.

Sinokor was unable to disclose the terms of the leaseback agreement, but the tenure is generally between five and 10 years, with buyback options attached.

The company is in the middle of merging its container liner shipping operations with its subsidiary, Heung-A Line, which it purchased from the struggling Heung-A Shipping in December 2019.

Sinokor and Heung-A Line have a combined fleet of 67 vessels, with a total capacity of 86,000TEU, making the group the world’s 21st largest liner operator. Their liner shipping activities are focused on feeder shipping and their larger ships, such as those sold to BOCOM Leasing, are chartered out to mainline operators.

Martina Li
Asia Correspondent

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