High demand for post-Panamax container ships has resulted in a string of sales since the start of 2020, a trend aided by the new fuel rules.
Container News' checks with various brokers shows that at least eight container ships, with capacities ranging from 6,000 TEU to 9,000 TEU, have changed hands.
In the week that ended 26 January, Diana Shipping is said to have sold the 2008-built 6,494 TEU Rotterdam to Chartworld for US$18.5 million. If this transaction is confirmed, Diana Shipping would have profited from the sale, having acquired the vessel for US$17.35 million in October 2017.
During the same week, Taiwanese operator Yang Ming Marine Transport reportedly sold 2008-built 8,236 TEU YM Utopia to Greece’s Danaos Corporation for US$29 million, a price close to market valuation.
Concurrently, YM Utopia has been fixed to Nile Dutch Line for US$28,000/day for two years.
In the previous week, Tsakos Container Navigation is said to have sold the 2007-built 6,039 TEU Irenes Warwick to Asiatic Lloyd Shipping for US$16 million.
As a reflection of how much asset values have appreciated, the 2013-built 9,336 TEU APL Vancouver was valued at US$46.44 million in April 2017, and is now assessed at US$55.38 million, according to VesselsValue.com
Brokers told Container News that the healthy demand for post-Panamax container vessels is down to lower slot costs when burning low-sulphur fuel oil (LSFO).
LSFO prices are around US$600/tonne and the spread between this fuel and marine gas oil is around US$100/tonne.
One broker said: “Bunker prices are so much higher that the slot costs make the larger vessels more economic than the feeder units.
“There’re not that many post-Panamax container ships available for chartering, because a number of ships are having scrubbers installed. The prolonged Chinese New Year holiday resulting from the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak has delayed the process as the shipyards are taking a longer time to resume work.”
Some of the sales were aimed at obtaining financing. CMA CGM reportedly sold three modern 9,162 TEU ships, CMA CGM Uruguay, CMA CGM Amazon and CMA CGM Magdalena for US$51.8 million each to ICBC Financial Leasing, with the carrier leasing back the vessels for seven years.
Capital Product Partners is said to have sold a pair of 2011-built 9,954 TEU vessels, Aristomenis and Athos, for US$38.5 million each, to CMB Financial Leasing, a subsidiary of China Merchants Bank. The Marinakis-led outfit will reportedly lease back the vessels for five years.