Classic panamax boxships roar back, charter rates up 200% since late 2016

Charter rates for classic panamax boxships are now at their highest levels in 30 months, lending credence to a bold prediction made at the Maritime CEO Forum two months ago in Singapore.

Alphaliner is reporting in its latest weekly report that charter rates for the much maligned classic panamax have risen by almost 200% from lows in late 2016 when rates sunk to as little as $4,000 to $4,200 per day. Alphaliner reports that charter rates in Asia for ships in the 4,000 to 5,100 teu range are now commanding $13,000 a day.

“Rates are expected to strengthen further, sustained by the rising demand,” Alphaliner stated.

Analsysts at Alphaliner stated the change in fortunes for this ship type can be traced back to the very high level of scrapping seen in the last two years, with 74 units of 4,000-5,100 teu scrapped since May 2016.

Peter Sand, chief shipping analyst at global shipowning organisation BIMCO, opened the Maritime CEO Forum, organised by the parent of this site, two months ago predicting that classic panamaxes would make the best asset play for shipowners this year as so many had been scrapped that there was now an impending shortage of this ship type.

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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