Maersk sets new charter highs

Maersk has set new charter highs, taking – or extending – three 4,600 teu classic panamaxes controlled by V Ships Hamburg, the Northern Priority, Northern Promotion and Northern Precision, for period employments of 24 to 27 months at $35,000 a day, according to Alphaliner.

The last time a classic panamax was fixed at $35,000 a day was in January 2005, when the 4,367 teu HS Caribe secured a 60-month charter with Maersk.

Alphaliner reported that the charter rate obtained by the three Northern P class ships is a “major jump” from the last 24-month fixture of a classic panamax unit, concluded recently at $30,750 a day.

The latest Container Ship Time Charter Assessment Index (ConTex) published by the Hamburg and Bremen Shipbrokers’ Association last Friday shows that time charter rates for 4,250 teu ships are up by around 150% year-on-year.

Maersk has also chartered two other classic panamaxes this month – the 4,253 teu Xiamen and the 4,252 teu Nagoya Tower, both from Zodiac Maritime for 30 months at $32,000 a day.

“Sky’s currently the limit for containership charter rates as NOOs retain the upper hand in a charter market facing a squeeze of supply and a continuously strong demand that shows no sign of weakening in the short term,” Alphaliner reported.

Charter rates for all boxship sizes have soared in recent months. A feeder boxship tonnage provider fixing a ship last week discussed the rates situation with Splash, saying: “It’s very tricky as you know that in a week’s time your shareholders are going to say you left money on the table. There’s a real fear of leaving money on the table.”

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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