Box Express
Photo: Paul Chiang

Wan Hai Lines has purchased one of its chartered ships after setting aside $200m for second-hand vessel purchases.

In a Taiwan Stock Exchange filing on Friday, Wan Hai said it had bought the 1,700 teu Box Express (pictured above) for $40.5m, having chartered the ship since June.

The 2016-built Box Express and sister vessels Box Endeavour and Box Endurance were commissioned by Greek tonnage provider Allseas Marine at CSSC Huangpu Wenchong Shipbuilding. Wan Hai has had the sister vessels on charter since the start of the year.

According to, it took the Box Endurance on a one-year time-charter for $16,050 a day in January and then fixed the Box Endeavour on a two-year time charter for $21,650 a day in April, illustrating how charter rates soared in the early months of the year.

On 9 November, Wan Hai said its chairman had authorised a budget of $200m to acquire more second-hand ships, nearly a year after setting aside $360m for this purpose. Most of the earlier budget has been spent on a dozen second-hand vessels, ranging from feeders to panamaxes.

The current capacity tightness in the container shipping market is tempting many liner operators to buy vessels that can be immediately deployed, and these are commanding a premium over newbuildings, which take at least two years to construct. The healthy freight market is also putting upward pressure on charter rates and, as a result, operators want larger owned fleets to minimise these costs.

A similar-sized newbuilding costs around $35m, meaning Wan Hai is paying a $5m premium on Box Express.

But the Box Express premium could be even higher – according to, Wan Hai compatriot Evergreen placed an order for a pair of 1,800 teu ships with Guangzhou Huangpu Shipbuilding in early September for $33m each, with delivery expected in the first quarter of 2023.

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