ZIM Boosts Capacity Building, Charters 6 More MPC Vessels

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Israeli ocean carrier Zim has agreed a charter with non-operating containership owner MPC Container Ships (MPCC) for up to six newbuild 5,500 teu wide-beamed vessels for seven years, reports The LoadStar.

A change in strategy

Since its formation in 2017, Oslo-based MPCC has specialised in operating second-hand feeder ships, so the deal with Zim is a change of strategy for the NOO, which described the deal as “an extraordinary opportunity”.

About the vessel buildings

MPCC said it was paying $72.2m each for the eco-designed ships from South Korean shipyard HJ Shipbuilding & Construction and would receive an average of $39,000 a day over the duration of the time charter, bringing it a return of around $100m per ship.

The NOO said it had ordered just two 5,500 teu ships for delivery in early 2024, but Zim suggests up to a further four are in the pipeline to be commissioned.

Gain after 2020 loss

Last year, MPCC turned its first gain, with a net profit of $190m, following a loss of $64.5m in 2020. It reported that its average time charter rates had doubled to almost $17,000 a day, with new deals at much higher rates and for longer terms.

However, with its fleet of 68 mainly feeder ships all firmly fixed and with the second-hand containership market run dry, MPCC is clearly looking to tap into the lucrative carrier market.

About the transaction

CEO Constantin Baack said the development represented an “extraordinary newbuilding opportunity” with “attractive charters attached”. He added: “This transaction demonstrates the company’s capability to identify and execute transactions that are both attractive in terms of earnings and environmental footprint in line with upcoming de-carbonisation regulations.”

Meanwhile, Zim president and CEO Eli Glickman said the deal with MPCC represented “another attractive chartering transaction for newbuild vessels” and  the new tonnage would be “ideally suited to serve on our expanded network of expedited services”.

According to Alphaliner data, Zim is currently the tenth-ranked carrier by capacity, with a fleet of 125 ships for 451,855 teu, including just seven owned vessels.

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Source: The LoadStar

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