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Title 46Chapter IISubchapter DPart 298Subpart B → §298.14

Title 46: Shipping
Subpart B—Eligibility

§298.14   Economic soundness.

(a) Economic Evaluation. We shall not issue a Letter Commitment for guarantees unless we find that the proposed project, regarding the Vessel(s) or Shipyard Project for which you seek Title XI financing or refinancing, will be economically sound. The economic soundness and your ability to repay the Obligations will be the primary basis for our approval of a Letter Commitment. We will consider the value of the collateral for which we will issue the Obligations as only a secondary consideration in determining your ability to repay the Obligations.

(b) Basic feasibility factors. In making the economic soundness findings, we shall consider all relevant factors, including, but not limited to:

(1) The need in the particular segment of the maritime industry for new or additional capacity, including any impact on existing equipment for which a guarantee under this title is in effect;

(2) The market potential for the employment of the Vessel or utilization of the Shipyard Project of a General Shipyard Facility over the life of the guarantee;

(3) Projected revenues and expenses associated with employment of the Vessel or utilization of the Shipyard Project of a General Shipyard Facility;

(4) Any charters, contracts of affreightment, transportation agreements, or similar agreements or undertakings relevant to the employment of the Vessel or utilization of the Shipyard Project of a General Shipyard Facility;

(5) For inland waterways, the need for technical improvements including but not limited to increased fuel efficiency, or improved safety; and

(6) Other relevant criteria.

(c) Project Feasibility. To demonstrate the economic feasibility of the project over the Guarantee period, you must submit the following information:

(1) Purpose. A detailed purpose for the obligations to be guaranteed.

(2) Necessary exhibits. Necessary exhibits to support your project feasibility as supplements to the application.

(3) Relevant market information. Information regarding the relevant market including a written narrative of the market (or potential market) for the project including full details on the following, as applicable:

(i) Nature and amount of cargo/passengers available for carriage and your projected share (provide also the number of units; that is containers, trailers, etc.);

(ii) Services or routes in which the Vessel(s) will be employed, including an itinerary of ports served, with the arrival and departure times, sea time, port time, hours working or idle in port, off hire days and reserve or contingency time, proposed number of annual sailings and number of annual working days for the Vessel(s) or, with respect to Shipyard Project, how the equipment will be employed;

(iii) Suitability of the Vessel(s) or Shipyard Project for their anticipated use;

(iv) Significant factors influencing your expectations for the future market for the Vessel(s) or Shipyard Project, for example, competition, government regulations, alternative uses, and charter rates; and

(v) Particulars of any charters, contracts of affreightment, transportation agreements, etc. You should supplement the narrative by providing copies of any marketing studies and/or supporting information (for instance, existing or proposed charters, contracts of affreightment, transportation agreements, and letters of intent from prospective customers).

(vi) The potential for purchasing existing equipment of a reasonable condition and age from another source, including information regarding:

(A) Market assessment concerning the availability and cost of existing equipment that may be an alternative to new construction or the new Shipyard Project;

(B) The cost of modification, reconditioning, or reconstruction of existing equipment to make it suitable for intended use; and

(C) Descriptions of any bids or offers which you had made to purchase existing equipment, especially Vessels which currently are financed with Title XI Obligations including date of offer, Vessels, and amount of offer.

(4) Revenues. A detailed statement of the revenues expected to be earned from the project based upon the information in paragraph (c) of this section. Vessel revenue projections shall include shipping/hire rates for current market conditions or market conditions expected to exist at the time of Vessel delivery taking into account seasonal or temporary fluctuations. The revenues shall be based on a realistic estimate of the Vessel(s) or the new Shipyard Project utilization rate and at a breakeven rate for the project. A justification for the utilization rate shall be supplied and should indicate the number of days per year allowed for maintenance, drydocking, inspection, etc.

(5) Expenses for Vessel financing. For applications for Vessel financing, a detailed statement of estimated Vessel expenses including the following (where applicable):

(i) Estimated Vessel daily operating expenses, including wages, insurance, maintenance and repair, fuel, etc. and a detailed projection of anticipated costs associated with long term maintenance of the Vessel(s) such as drydocking and major mid-life overhauls, with a time frame for these events over the period of the Guarantee;

(ii) If applicable, a detailed breakdown of those expenses associated with the Vessel(s) voyage, such as port fees, agency fees and canal fees that are assessed as a result of the voyage; and

(iii) A detailed breakdown of annual capital costs and administrative expenses, segregated as to:

(A) Interest on debt;

(B) Principal amortization; and

(C) Salaries and other administrative expenses (indicate basis of allocation).

(6) Expenses for a Shipyard Project. For applications for a Shipyard Project, a statement of estimated expenses related to the Shipyard Project, including the following (where applicable):

(i) A detailed breakdown of estimated daily operating expenses for the shipyard, such as wages, including staffing, and segregated as to straight-time, overtime and fringe benefits; utility costs; costs of stores, supplies, and equipment; maintenance and repair cost; insurance costs; and, other expenses (indicate items included); and

(ii) A detailed breakdown of annual capital costs and administrative expenses, segregated as to:

(A) Interest on debt;

(B) Principal amortization; and

(C) Salaries and other administrative expenses (indicate basis of allocation).

(7) Forecast of Operations. Utilizing the revenues and expenses provided in paragraphs (c)(4),(5) and (6) of this section, you shall provide a forecast of operating cash flow, as defined in paragraph (d)(4) of this section, for the Title XI project for the first full year of operations and the next four years. The cash flow statements should be footnoted to explain the assumptions used.

(d) Objective Criteria. We must make a finding of economic soundness as to each project based on an assessment of the entire project. In order for the project to receive approval, we must determine that a project meets the following criteria:

(1) The projected long-term demand (equal to length of time that you request financing) for the particular Vessel(s) or new Shipyard Project to be financed must exceed the supply of similar vessels or new shipyard project in the applicable markets. We will determine the supply of similar vessels and similar shipyard projects based on:

(i) Existing equipment,

(ii) Similar vessels or new shipyard project under construction, and

(iii) The projected need for new equipment in that particular segment of the maritime industry.

(2) We will base our determination of the project's economic soundness on the following:

(i) Conformity of your projections with our supply and demand analyses;

(ii) Availability of charters, letters of intent, outstanding contractual commitments, contracts of affreightment, transportation agreements or similar agreements or undertakings; and

(iii) Your existing market share compared with the market share necessary to meet projected revenues.

(3) In cases where market conditions are temporarily inadequate for you to service the Obligation indebtedness at the time of Vessel delivery, or completion of the Shipyard Project, we may approve your application only if you have sufficient outside sources of cash flow to service your indebtedness during this temporary period.

(4) With respect to the asset for which Obligations are to be issued, the operating cash flow to Obligation debt service ratio over the term of the Guarantee must be in excess of 1:1. Operating cash flow means revenues less operating and capital expenses including taxes paid but exclusive of interest, accrued taxes, depreciation and amortization for the Title XI asset. Debt service means interest plus principal.

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