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Charter rates fall to three-year low, more pressure seen

Boxship charter rates have plummeted to a three-year low, but are still 36% higher than average levels in 2019, the year before the Covid-19-fuelled boom began.

Linerlytica’s latest report, dated 20 November, stated that mainline operators, particularly, are still busy chartering vessels as they continue fighting for market share in the face of weakening fundamentals.

Maersk Line, is particularly, still chartering ships to try and regain lost ground against MSC, to whom it lost its top liner ranking in 2022.

The Danish carrier has taken the 2014-built 5,071 TEU Seadream from Greek tonnage provider Thenamaris for US$19,500/day for four to seven months, and the 2009-built 4,308 TEU Kassiakos from another Greek owner, Dioryx, for US$16,500/day for three to nine months.

In the sub-Panamax bracket, Maersk has fixed the 2011-built 2,770 TEU Cape Moss from Cypriot owner Schoeller Holdings, for US$12,500/day for one to three months.

MSC still maintains a comfortable 1.4 million TEU lead over Maersk, with 5.5 million TEU of capacity.

French carrier CMA CGM, aspiring to overtake Maersk, has also been busy fixing ships, albeit in the smaller sizes. CMA CGM has chartered Briese Schiffahrts’ 2008-built 1,368 TEU Petkum for US$8,250/day for two to eight months and Contships Management’s 2006-built 1,118 TEU Contship Bee for US$11,000 for two to three months.

However, Linerlytica cautioned that charter rates may come under further pressure over the coming months, especially when ships of below 5,000 TEU are in ample supply.

Israel’s ZIM Line has already redelivered 20 chartered ships and is likely to return another five vessels by year-end. ZIM, which has committed to 32 newbuildings, plans to redeliver many of the 34 ships that will come off charter in 2024.

Martina Li
Asia Correspondent

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