Port of Los Angeles

Despite geopolitical tensions, which could dampen longer-term demand, ocean carriers are persisting with their bullish strategies on new tonnage, with more vessel orders and forward fix long-term charters.

CMA CGM, which has been one of the most aggressive players in the newbuild, charter and second-hand markets in the past 18 months, said during its annual report it was re-investing half its $18bn 2021 profit into beefing-up its vessel capacity and container equipment.

Since the start of the pandemic, the French carrier has regained third place in the liner rankings from Cosco, behind MSC and Maersk, with capacity of 3.3m teu, putting daylight between it and the 2.9m teu of the Chinese line.

CMA CGM confirmed this week it was behind an order of four 7,300 teu LNG-powered ships from South Korea’s Samsung Heavy Industries, taking its order to ten such ships.

According to Samsung’s disclosure to the Korean Stock Exchange, the line will be paying around $123m each for the four ships – up 3% on the declared price it paid for the other six.

“All four are scheduled for delivery in late 2024,” said Alphaliner, adding that the first of the series will be delivered from October next year.

Orderbooks for circa 7,000 teu ships have been filling up recently, mostly for the versatile post-panamax sizes, with for example MSC, CULines and RCL ordering a total of 20 in the past few weeks.

Moreover, demand from its carrier client portfolio saw Greek non-operating containership owner (NOO) Danaos Corp order two 7,100 teu 255m LOA methanol-ready ships from China’s Dalian Shipbuilding this week, after a newbuild order absence of several years.

Meanwhile, on the charter market, Hapag-Lloyd has trumped Evergreen and will take over six 13,806 teu neo panamax ships the Taiwan carrier has on hire from German NOO SFL Corp when the charters expire in 2023 and 2024.

According to the NYSE-listed bulk, tanker and containership owner, new charter parties have been signed with Hapag-Lloyd for a period of five years for a backlog hire of some $540m.

According to VesselsValue data, Evergreen is paying $49,300 a day for the hire of the ships and, judging from SFL’s statement, the price Hapag-Lloyd will pay will be the same.

Hapag-Lloyd is the fifth-ranked carrier by capacity, with a fleet of 246 ships for a capacity of 1.75m teu, of which 60% is owned. It has an orderbook of 22 ships for a capacity of 416,000 teu. The Hamburg-headquartered carrier reported a net profit of $10.75bn for 2021 and announced last week it had agreed to acquire Africa trade specialist Deutsche Afrika-Linien (DAL).

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