Sailing The Waves: April 2024 Container Shipping Market Analysis

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  • The demand for Sale & Purchase (S&P) in the Panamax segment remains robust, with increased charter rates.
  • In the sub-Panamax segment, activity is relatively restrained.
  • The Feeder segment remains active, particularly focusing on 1,800 TEU vessels globally.
  • Despite interest in a quartet of modern 8,000 TEU newbuildings, owners appear indecisive.
  • No transactions were concluded in the container market this week, with very few prompt candidates left workable for sale.
  • The demo market remains very firm, with two vessels sold for recycling.

Panamax Segment

The demand for Sale & Purchase (S&P) in the Panamax segment remains robust. The Jiangnan 5000 ‘SOFIA I’ (5,089 TEU, built 2010 Jiangnan Changxing) extended its charter for another 12 months at a rate of $26,850, operating between the Far East and the US East Coast. Sealead has extended the Sdari 4600 ‘ZHONG GU XI AN’ (4,636 TEU, built 2023 Jiangsu Yangzijiang) for another 12 to 14 months at a reported rate of $32,000, representing a 7% increase to what the owners achieved about 3 weeks ago but a significant 23% increase since early March 2024.

Sub-Panamax Segment

Activity is relatively restrained. Owners are cautiously monitoring the market to assess potential benefits from restricted supply in the Panamax segment. The Gdynia 8200 ‘TSS AMBER’ (2,764 TEU, geared built Gdynia Shipyard) has been taken for a year at a reported rate of $20,500, suggesting potential trading through the Red Sea area.

Feeder Segment

The Feeder segment remains active, particularly focusing on 1,800 TEU vessels globally. In the PG region, Aladdin has chartered the modern Wenchong 1900 ‘BORKUM’ (1,930 TEU, gearless, built 2023 Guangzhou Wenchong) for 6 months duration at $15,850. China United Lines has taken the Huanghai 1800 ‘ASL HAIPHONG’ (1,781 TEU, gearless, built 2024 Huanghai Shipbuilding) for 6 to 8 months at $19,000, destined for their Red Sea service. Given the ongoing demand, charter rates in this segment could further increase. Charter rates for smaller 1,100 TEU vessels are relatively stable, with operators often having multiple options to choose from in both the Atlantic and Pacific markets.

General Overview

Once again, owners frequently emphasize that their agreed charter rates are fixed on a net basis, underscoring instances where operators are willing to forgo their standard additional commission to achieve a lower reported rate in the market. This practice is a familiar one, encountered in the past, and always carries a hint of amusement. Chartering activity remains robust across all sectors, with charter rates generally holding steady and showing upward momentum. Particularly in the larger vessel categories, options are limited, creating upward pressure on rates. This trend has been observed before, as larger vessels experience rate increases, potentially influencing charter values for smaller sizes subsequently.

Post-Panamax Segment

In the post-Panamax segment, there haven’t been any notable developments reported with operators forced to consider forward positions towards the end of the year or possibly even from 2025. Despite interest in a quartet of modern 8,000 TEU newbuildings that remain available within 2024, owners appear indecisive, opting to gather interest rather than commit to specific terms. No transactions were concluded in the container market this week. Given the buoyancy in the charter market, there are very few prompt candidates left workable for sale.

Demo Market

The demo market remains very firm. Last week saw two more vessels sold for recycling – the SINOKOR HONGKONG (1,129 TEU, geared, built 1996 Imabari Shipyard) and SINOKOR QINGDAO (834 TEU, gearless, built 1999 Fujian Mawei) were sold for $598/Ldt and $593/Ldt respectively – the former having some 450Mts of bunkers to remain on board. Both units sold ‘basis delivery Bangladesh’.

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Source: Braemar