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‘Win-win’ for shipowners, with charter market rates and vessel values soaring

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Containership owners have seen the value of their assets soar in the past few weeks, and they are said to be “raking in the money”.

This week, shipbroker Braemar ACM reported the sale of the 6,350 teu post-panamax APL Norway at $31.5m, a 50% increase in the ship’s value since the beginning of December.

According to vesselsvalue.com, the vessel was sold on Monday to intra-Asia carrier Regional Container Lines. It is on charter until July to CMA CGM at a daily hire rate of $10,250, around a third of today’s market rate.

It is unclear whether RCL has plans to deploy the ship itself after July or re-charter it out, but based on the forward fixtures that have become the norm in the market, it would have no problem in fixing the vessel for a lengthy time charter.

A UK broker source told The Loadstar several of his owners were mulling over fixing their ships short-term at very high rates, or going for long-term offers at slightly reduced rates.

“It’s really a win-win for the owners at the moment, short- or long-term they are raking in the money,” he said.

“Carriers are really gambling on freight rates being high for some time as they are quite happy to fix ships for two, three, or even four years in the current market, and are fighting each other tooth and nail to get the best one,” he added.

Charter market rates are continuing to rise across all sectors with new records being set week after week.

“The persistent short supply of tonnage across the board paves the way for further rate rises in the coming weeks,” said Alphaliner, adding that congestion at ports around the world, including on the US west coast where there are reportedly over 40 vessels awaiting a berth, was “adding to the supply squeeze”.

Indeed, recent fixtures noted by Alphaliner include several new and extended charters for 24 months or more.

MSC, which is maintaining its reputation as one of the most aggressive carriers in the market, recently extended the charter of the 8,530 teu Navarino with Greek shipowner Costamare for four years, at a daily rate of $32,000, compared with the rate of $23,000 for the 12-month charter that ends in March.

Unsurprisingly, the value of the 2010-built post-panamax ship has increased significantly, with vesselsvalue.com recording a current value of $41m, compared with 2020’s $23m.

Another notable was Hapag-Lloyd’s new fixture of the 6,882 teu Cape Pioneer for 36 months at a daily hire rate of $33,750. The wide-beam ship, which boasts 1,000 reefer points, was previously on hire to NYK at $14,500 a day.

According to the latest Alphaliner survey the number of container vessels ‘commercially’ idled, as at 18 January, stood at just 60 ships for 246,925 teu, compared with 72 for 314,721 teu two weeks previously. These are most likely unavailable for charter due to repairs, expired surveys or being subject to legal charge.

Meanwhile, just one, 1,000 teu, ship has been sold for scrap this month so far ,with no other candidates currently being offered due to the strength of the charter market.

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