Zhong Gu Shan Dong vesselfinder
Zhong Gu Shan Dong Photo: VesselFinder

French carrier CMA CGM is reportedly paying $80,000 a day to charter one of TS Lines’ newly built 7,000 teu ships for three months.

The fixture of the TS Dubai, recently delivered from Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding, set a new rate benchmark – in normal times, it would command half that rate, for a longer period.

Observers suggest that more small and mid-size operators are becoming tonnage providers to the mainline operators, as they can earn more by letting out their vessels as shipping supply tightens.

Taiwanese intra-Asia carrier TS Lines had commissioned six 7,000 teu ships, eyeing the long-haul market during the Covid-powered boom, only to backtrack when the market normalised. Three of the ships are deployed on Far East-India services.

Linerlytica analyst Tan Hua Joo told The Loadstar many operators were chartering out their ships and TS Lines was no exception. He said: “This is especially when charter rates are more lucrative than operating the ships.”

Mr Tan said the biggest operator/charterers currently were Zhonggu, X-Press Feeders, Quanzhou Ansheng Shipping, Sinokor, PT Salam Pacific Indonesia Lines, Starocean Marine, RCL, MTT Shipping and Meratus Line.

Last week, Zhonggu Logistics, primarily a Chinese coastal container carrier, chartered its 2007-built 3,398 teu Zhong Gu Shan Dong to Hapag-Lloyd for $18,000 a day for 11 to 14 months and the 2023-built 4,636 teu Zhong Gu Lan Zhou to Persian Gulf-focused SeaLead Shipping for $32,000 a day for 12-14 months.

Malaysian feeder operator MTT Shipping has fixed two new 1,792 teu ships, MTT Port Kelang and MTT Pelepas, to Evergreen, which is assigning the vessels to its intra-Asia routes.

Alphaliner said today that the charter market had been going from strength to strength since the start of the year, with no sign of let-up. Almost all the 1.14 million teu of newbuildings delivered so far have been absorbed, dispelling concerns that the injection of capacity could undermine the boom.

Listen to this clip from the latest episode of The Loadstar Podcast to hear Xeneta’s Peter Sand advise on how to manage container supply chains in a time of multiple risks:

The French consultancy said: “Developments in the container charter market have been astonishing in the past couple of weeks, with the return of sky-high charter rates, reminding us, in some way, of the euphoric days of the post-Covid cargo boom.

“Both the situation in the Red Sea and its multiple consequences, as well as higher than expected cargo volumes on many routes, can explain the rally in demand for container tonnage.

“Against this, is a continuing limited supply of non-operating owners’ ships, especially with prompt positions. The sale of over 750 NOOs’ vessels in the past four years to end users has considerably reduced the charter market fleet and, even though it has since been partly replenished, it offers fewer chartering options to carriers than in pre-Covid years.”

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