Boxship charter rates set new highs

Soaring charter rates in the boxship space are seeing ships taken for lengthy times at eye-watering rates.

Clarkson’s boxship time charter rate index out last Friday stood at 112 points, the highest level since 2008.

The six to 12-month charter rate for a 2,500 teu feeder vessel now stands at $20,500 a day, while 4,400 teu ships are raking in $31,500 a day.

Danaos managed to charter out the 4,200 teu ZIM Dalian for 21 months for a very firm $30,750 a day.

As freight rates remain at record high levels, any reversal of the current market trajectory seems unlikely

The latest ConTex report from Hamburg stated: “This euphoric market for both Owners and Charterers has rendered the expressions ‘as per last done’ or ‘market levels’ absolutely obsolete. The appetite for vessels seems inexhaustible from the Charterers perspective (albeit with generally shorter periods but we still see some 12 or even 24 mos fixtures happening). The Owners are bombarded constantly with possibilities from a multitude of Charterers and have finally the luxury to choose orders without any stress and at their own time.”

Clarkson Research Services contradicted the ConTex report in its most recent weekly update, stating that ever longer charters were being concluded.

“The new standard for tonnage above ‘old Panamax’ size is 3 year charters, with 2 year periods now being widely fixed in many of the smaller sectors,” Clarksons observed. In exceptional circumstances shorter periods have been concluded, often at particularly high rates, the London brokerage added.

“Strong demand and continued disruption are limiting tonnage availability, which is especially tight in the larger sizes, and vessels available in the later months of the year are already attracting attention in some cases. As freight rates remain at record high levels, any reversal of the current market trajectory seems unlikely,” Clarkons concluded.

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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