Records keep falling across every segment of the container shipping industry. In sale and purchase, 1.025m teu of secondhand tonnage changed hands in the first half of the year, an all-time high for any six-month period according to data from Alphaliner. A total of 301 ships were sold in H1, with sales remaining very strong in the first week of July.
“Despite the sharp increase in asset prices this year, there remains a significant lag between ship values and charter rates which carriers and NOOs are keen to exploit,” Alphaliner explained in its latest weekly report.
Charter rates are up 286% over the past 12 months and owners are increasingly being forced to accept onerous, multi-year contracts, hence the keenness to buy rather than charter by many liners.
Mediterranean Shipping Co (MSC) and Wan Hai Lines have been the top two boxship buyers this year.
The extraordinary buying spree of MSC has been charted regularly by Splash for many months.
The Geneva-based line bought 53 ships of 185,590 teu in the first six months of this year, and in total has bought 72 units of 289,950 teu since it began snapping up tonnage in August 2020.
The stunning increase in sales concluded in the opening six months also highlights shipping’s ability to asset play.
“From the seller’s perspective, the current prices offer a great incentive to sell, highlighting the role of asset play in some shipowners’ models, as profits on ships being sold these days can potentially cover the losses made by the ship over its lifetime,” commented Peter Sand, BIMCO’s chief shipping analyst last week in a report carried by Splash.
By far the most traded ship so far this year have been feeder ships, of which 167 have been sold, a 165.1% increase from the first half of 2020, according to data from VesselsValue. Of the feeder ships which have disclosed prices, the average paid in June was $17.6m. This is more than four times the $4m average for deals going through in June 2020.
It’s not just an appetite for record-breaking boxships that are keeping S&P brokers busy this year. Bulk carriers and tankers are also changing hands fast.
As much as 8% of the global fleet will change hands this year according to new research from Clarkson Research Services.
More than 85m dwt has been sold in the first six months, more than double the long term trend.