Booked Solid

Yesterday’s Shipping News provided the following story:

“Charter activity quickens into surge in leasing of smaller box ships”

“The containership charter market has been kept active in the two weeks up to August 19 by small and medium-sized vessel fixtures, while interest in ships of more than 3,000 TEU has been low, with very few deals concluded.

“In the larger ship sector, London-based Greek owners were reported to have fixed two of their wide-beam 9,000 TEU newbuildings due in 2014 from the Hyundai Samho yard to UASC for period charter. Peter Dohle was also reported to have extended the charter of the 5,527-TEU Anguila to Zim for six months at US$ 19,650 per day, according to Alphaliner.

“Wide-beam units of 4,500-5,000 TEU continue to attract good rates, but the 3,000-3,500 TEU sector was quiet with only one deal reported.

“Ships in the 2,700- and 2,500 TEU range were active. There were quite a few interesting deals such as the fixture of the 2,742-TEU Cape Mondego to Maersk [???] for five to seven months at $ 7,300 and the extension of the 2,764-TEU Westermoor to Nile-Dutch for five to seven months at $ 7,500 for its North Europe-West Africa service.

“In the 2,500 TEU segment, several deals were concluded, including the extension by Nile-Dutch of the Nordbaltic (trading as Niledutch Gemsbok) for an unusual two-year period at a rate of $ 9,150.

“The 1,700-segment was also fairly busy with rates stabilizing around $ 7,500 for B-1700 or Wenchong 1700 types. The 1,000 TEU sector continues to attract interest, although not as much as in previous weeks.

“The surprise of the two week period under review was the relative upsurge in activity for smaller container vessels below 1,000 TEU, with several fixtures for periods covering five to nine months, contrasting with the short-term fixtures so often concluded to fill temporary gaps or to scoop up punctual extra volumes.” –

Does all this sound as though “bigger is better”? This illustrates perfectly a scenario we outlined a few years ago. It was on January 5th, 2005, to be exact, that we posted Vol. II, Art. 2, and we titled the commentary, “Fully Loaded”.

In that illustration, we compared one carrier’s two fully-loaded 3,240-TEU vessels with another carrier’s partially-loaded (80%) 8,100-TEU vessel – in both instances, 6,480 TEUs were being transported – and guess which carrier was making money. And this is exactly why a run is being made on smaller, faster-steaming vessels currently. [Eat your heart out, Mr. Skou.]