In the first nine months of 2014, recorded investment in sale and purchase transactions in secondhand market has almost exceeded last year’s total already, with a reported USD 19 billion having changed hands, according to Clarksons. “Due to a growing sense of optimism that market conditions would eventually improve, some USD 20 billion was invested in secondhand sales through the course of 2013, and already in 2014 over USD 19 billion has been reported invested in secondhand purchases,” Clarksons’ market review shows. The average unit reported sold has been 43% larger in dwt terms than the average across 2005-13, which has also supported investment levels. Based on the review, between 2005 and 2009 around three-quarters of reported secondhand investment was in the bulker and tanker sectors. “However, since the start of 2010 this figure has dropped to two-thirds. One trend has been a greater proportion of transactions in the gas sector, with the majority of activity in the LPG sector where recent record earnings have grabbed the attention of investors. The increased level of activity in often higher value specialised sectors has helped support increased investment levels, and the average reported transaction value rose by 27% in 2013 and by a further 32% in 2014 to date,” Clarksons adds. Since the beginning of 2013 younger units have been in demand, and, according to Clarksons, the average age of sale the lowest for a long time last year was at 12.3 years. It stands at 10.3 years this year so far. “Should secondhand activity continue at a similar pace, may just see the largest volume of investment since the crash. Whilst prices have firmed a little year-on-year, other factors have been the more important drivers, with secondhand activity looking broader, younger and bigger,” Clarksons said.