Container Briefing Overview

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Chartering

As we approach the conclusion of the first quarter of 2024, it is evident we have witnessed robust activity across all sectors throughout the quarter. Marked by strong demand and a dwindling pool of available tonnage.

This trend is notably influenced by disruptions in the Red Sea since December 2023, which has shaped the market dynamic in Q1.

While forecasting the market’s next direction poses challenges, the current trend is likely to persist in the near-term, potentially extending throughout the second quarter, although Freight indices are showing a negative trend since mid-February.

In the Panamax segment, demand has eased slightly. Charter rates appear to have stabilised at around $25,000/day levels, However, there are reports of two additional Panamax vessels that secured employment at $25,500 for around 12-months charter.

Additionally, CMA CGM is reported to have extended another Panamax for the same duration at around $25,000.

During the week, widespread rumours circulated indicating that a promptly docked vessel is currently under negotiation, with the market eagerly awaiting further updates.

The feeder segment below 3,000 TEU has once again dominated fixing activity, particularly in the 2,700 to 2,900 TEU and 1,500 to 1,700 size categories.

Hapag Lloyd extended the Hyundai 2800 ‘GFS PRIME’ (2,824 TEU, gearless, built 2006, HYUNDAI MIPO) for 6 to 8 months at $17,000 trading between the Persian Gulf and India. The same charterer is also linked to the Thyssen 2700 ‘GABRIELA A’ (2,702 TEU, gearless, built 2005, BLOHM AND VOSS) for their Intra-Asia network. Notably, the smaller Naikai 2500 ‘XIANG YU’ (2,496 TEU, gearless, built 2002, NAIKAI ZOSEN) was secured by Akkon Lines for 6 to 8 months at a firm rate of $22,000 due to the owners being able to trade through the Red Sea for the charterers Liner service.

In the 1,500-1,900 TEU segment, charter rates have continued to climb, particularly benefiting modern eco tonnage. The SDARI Sealion 1800 ‘SHENG AN’ (1,781 TEU, gearless, built 2023, HUANGHAI SHIPBUILDING CO LTD) was extended by CMA CGM at a rate of $14,750 for a 6-month charter. While there is an increase in supply, particularly in Asia, the Atlantic region continues to demonstrate limited availability.

In the smaller feeder segment, demand has remained relatively strong, with the Atlantic region gathering most of the activity. The Germany-built PW 1200 type ‘SC MEMPHIS’ (1,221 TEU, gearless, built 05, PEENE-WERFT) was extended by Italia Marittima for a flexible 4 to 7 months at $9,400. On the other hand, the Pacific market is still catching up on rates.

The Dae Sun 1000 ‘OKEE AURELIA’ (1,049 TEU, gearless, built 07, DAESUN SHIPBUILDING) extended for a short period of 14 to 28 days with X-Press Feeders at a strong rate of $8,500, achieved due to the relatively short duration of the charter.

Sale and purchase

Whilst the market appears busy, little has been concluded and the gap between Buyers ideas and Sellers price points has been widening.

The charter market has stabilised and even though we are seeing some Owners look to sell vessels with balance of charters attached, the numbers Buyers are able to offer are not garnering a huge amount of interest. Given the ongoing geopolitical uncertainty in the world, one cannot blame Owners for holding some faith that the market, particularly that the feeder segment is going to remain positive for the foreseeable future but likewise for buyers the risk of taking on a ship in a couple of months and trade routes returning to normal is there.

With further emission regulations fast approaching buyers taking a longer view are also erring on the side of caution.

At the time of writing, there are rumours surrounding a trio of post Panamax units having been sold en bloc, although so far nothing has been confirmed.

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Source : Capital link