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Shipping Loan Agreement

Shipping Loan Agreement

While it remains to be seen whether the growing interest in ESG and the increase in sustainability-related credit will mark the next step in the development of ship financing, we expect this to play a key role in the future. The loan agreement includes insurance companies for which the borrower undertakes to insure the ship for certain types of risks and, for certain insurances, the minimum amount for which the ship should be insured. This minimum amount is normally linked to the agreed value of the vessel, this value being determined by the valuations that the borrower is likely to obtain (often from brokers agreed in advance with the lender) on an annual or semi-annual basis. The commercial terms of a credit agreement include the duration of the loan (i.e.: the duration of the repayment of the loan) and, closely related to the duration, the plan for repayment of the loan (including the distribution of repayments – for example, whether the loan is amortized and the amount of a possible balloon repayment at the end of the loan). Because of this uncertainty, lenders will have to consider in the future the integration of appropriate mechanisms into new loans, as well as the impact of a mechanism on their interest margins. Borrowers will also want to have an overview of the interest they will have to pay when the operational screen rate is settled. Some, including Commerzbank, Lloyds Banking Group and, more recently, RBS, have done so very publicly and others have been less open about their strategy. In this context, we have seen a number of large maritime banks that have divested their credit assets either individually or through portfolio sales, and other banks (notably in the UK and Germany) are being planned or, in some cases, in the final phase of concluding a loan portfolio. In recent days, with the dramatic drop in oil prices and growing concern about the effects of COVID-19 (coronavirus), the need for lessors and ship owners to consider the impact of their financing agreements has become even more urgent. Before the virus intervened, we had already seen challenges facing the industry with IMO 2020, the impending deadlines for institutions and accountants who were dealing with business prosecution. .

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