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HANSA 08-2019

Mammoet | Strom-Hubs auf See | VDMA | Interview Indian Register | Klassifikation | Flaggen & Politik | Shipmanagement | EU-Regulierung | Peter Gast Schiffahrtsregatta

Mammoet | Strom-Hubs auf See | VDMA | Interview Indian Register | Klassifikation | Flaggen & Politik | Shipmanagement | EU-Regulierung | Peter Gast Schiffahrtsregatta

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Märkte | Markets<br />

No summertime blues – markets soaring!<br />

Charter rates in the dry bulk and container ship segments are defying normal seasonal<br />

patterns. For many vessel classes the trend is showing straight up. By Michael Hollmann<br />

Charter markets have become used to<br />

slowing activity and pressure on hire<br />

rates during the summer holidays. This<br />

year is the exact opposite for most vessel<br />

types in the dry cargo and and also – albeit<br />

to a lesser extent – in the container<br />

ship market.<br />

Charter rate barometers for container<br />

ships such as the Howe Robinson Containership<br />

Index and the New ConTex are<br />

still up month-on-month by mid-/late July.<br />

Instead of a typical summer dip, further<br />

increases are anticipated in the weeks to<br />

come based on limited spot/prompt supply<br />

of ships and strong supply for larger<br />

gearless ships.<br />

The one constant feature throughout<br />

the first half of the year was brisk demand<br />

for traditional post-panamax ships, with<br />

market rates firming up rapidly during<br />

the second quarter. Enquiry from charterers<br />

has not waned much, but the pace<br />

of fixing slowed simply because there are<br />

hardly any tramp vessels available anymore.<br />

Since the middle of June, attention<br />

by operators has therefore shifted to traditional<br />

panamaxes.<br />

Panamaxes in hot demand<br />

According to brokers, this shift and the rapid<br />

increase in fixing of panamaxes took<br />

everyone by surprise. Spot availability reduced<br />

sharply as a result while fixing levels<br />

for 4,250 TEU baby panamaxes for<br />

6-8 month durations have soared by more<br />

than 3,000 $ (+30-35%) within four weeks<br />

– »something we have rarely seen before,«<br />

as one broker remarked. Where ships were<br />

achieving 9,000-9,500 $/day one month<br />

ago, the latest benchmarks are now in the<br />

12,500-13,000 $-range.<br />

Hong Kong-based TS Lines was reported<br />

to have extended the 4,255 TEU »Harrier<br />

Hunter« for 8 months at 12,700 $/day,<br />

net of address commission. Allowing for<br />

a typical »add com« for the liner operator<br />

of 2.0% or higher, the total rate would<br />

breach $13,000. Elsewhere, Ocean Network<br />

Express was named as charterer of<br />

the 4,252 TEU »Holsatia« at 12,500 $/day<br />

for 7-9 months. Both are for delivery in<br />

the Far East in August.<br />

The result of this rally in the east was<br />

that the rate imbalance between the<br />

Atlantic and Pacific has been turned<br />

around. Fixing levels for panamaxes in<br />

Asia are now almost 1,000 $ higher than<br />

for Europe/Mediterranean delivery, whereas<br />

before levels in the Atlantic used to<br />

be around $2,000 higher. Latest fixtures/<br />

extensions on the continent were reported<br />

at just below 12,000 $/day.<br />

A number of factors seem to have converged<br />

to lend a boost to panamax demand,<br />

say brokers. First of all, overall<br />

cargo volumes has held up better than<br />

expected despite the US/China trade war<br />

and slowdown in GDP growth. Clarksons<br />

Platou forecasts a 3.4% increase in global<br />

loaded container traffic this year, versus<br />

just 2.9% fleet capacity growth. Some<br />

have pointed, in particular, to rising volumes<br />

in the Asia/North America trade as<br />

a driver for panamax demand.<br />

No units left available<br />

Secondly, panamaxes are benefiting from<br />

tightness in supply of bigger post-panamaxes.<br />

Those would probably be the first<br />

choice for charterers as they seek to maximise<br />

their economies of scale. However,<br />

since there are no units left available,<br />

panamaxes are next in line for them.<br />

Fixtures of post-panamaxes have slowed<br />

down to just one per week or per fortnight<br />

as now and then some unexpected positions<br />

still come up, but only in the 5,500-<br />

6,500 TEU classes. Latest transactions<br />

showed improvements of at least around<br />

500-1,000$ over last done, as illustrated by<br />

the 2002-built 6,400 TEU »Performance«<br />

at 21,500 $/day to OOCL. Cosco fixed the<br />

2002-built »E. R. Sweden« (6,0<strong>08</strong> TEU) at<br />

16,850 $/day for 9-11 months, while the<br />

modern wide-beam 6,881 TEU »Rhodos«<br />

is reported to have fetched even 24,250<br />

$ / day for 12 months trading in a new<br />

Asia-US Gulf string.<br />

The smaller vessel classes below<br />

4,000 TEU are still lacking the same kind<br />

of momentum. However, the picture<br />

seems to have brightened up a little, especially<br />

for 3,000-3,500 TEU vessels, gearless<br />

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8 <strong>HANSA</strong> International Maritime Journal <strong>08</strong> | <strong>2019</strong>

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