Boxship charter rates hit new highs

Containership charter rates are storming to new record highs with demand for tonnage described as frantic.

“All sizes are seeing rates firming strongly, with, in some cases, staggering figures agreed, well above earlier benchmarks,” Alphaliner noted in its most recent weekly report. Illustrating this, Alphaliner pointed out that 3,500 teu ships are now obtaining $60,000 per day for 36 months employments, up from $45,000 only a few weeks ago.

The same trend is observed for slightly smaller units of 2,700 teu, where the new benchmark for similar periods is now close to $50,000 for standard units, up from $42,000 at the beginning of the year.

Sending rates skyward was the Pasha Hawaii raid, reported by Splash earlier this week, for seven charters for ships ranging in size from 2,100 to 3,500 teu with most taken on a three-year basis.

The Alphaliner Charter Rate index has hit a new historic high this week at 476 points.

More long-term fixtures are being concluded with a de-escalating structure

“There is a growing trend towards forward fixing far into the future, with some vessels extended or fixed nearly one year before being delivered. This development highlights charterers’ concern that they might end up without any vessel at all if they do not secure tonnage now,” Alphaliner noted.

“Tonnage supply is short for the rest of the year and charterers will have to consider smaller tonnage than what they were originally looking for,” stated the latest report from the compilers of the New ConTex chartering index.

Alphaliner also gave details of an increasing number of long-term fixtures concluded with a de-escalating structure with charterers paying a higher rate in the first year, with the figure gradually decreasing for the duration of the contract. As an example, Alphaliner highlighted Maersk’s recent chartering of the Euroseas-owned 2,788 teu EM Astoria. Taken for 36 to 38 months, Maersk is paying $65,000 for the first year, then $50,000 for the second year and $20,000 for the remaining 12 to 14 months, resulting in an average daily rate of about $45,000 for the duration of the charter.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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