Hapag-Lloyd will receive next month the first of 9 ships of 14,372 teu that it has chartered from SFL and Enesel for 5 year periods in the first benchmark fixture for ships of this size following the expiry of their initial 10 year charter to Evergreen. The first 2 ships (THALASSA HELLAS and THALASSA PATRIS) are currently undergoing upgrades at COSCO Zhoushan including raised lashing bridges that will increase their nominal capacity from 13,808 teu to 14,372 teu. They will join the FE-US East
Charter rates are seeing sharper drops with the start of the winter slack season further pushing down market sentiment while charter periods are also significantly shortened with more flexible delivery periods of 1-6 months being reported. Idle tonnage is starting to build up again but the pace of idling is still slower than last year, with most of the larger ships due to return to service by November. However, the build up of surplus tonnage is starting to bite with even MSC forced to idle
Charters rates are falling steadily with further declines expected over the coming weeks with vessel availability rising faster than the market can absorb. There are more than a dozen newbuildings of up to 3,000 teu scheduled for delivery in the coming 3 months that remain open for charter, putting further pressure on an already over-supplied market. Charter rates have slipped across all sizes including the larger sectors of over 4,000 teu where there is an increasing build up of surplus ships.
With the number of idle ships starting to rise and fresh demand failing to match the rapid build up of the surplus fleet, charter rates are increasingly under pressure across all size segments. There remains limited activity in the larger sizes, but demand is also similarly muted with most of the main carriers’ requirements this year already fully covered. The most notable fixture was PIL’s charter for 4 units of 7,000 teu from TSL and RCL for delivery in 2024. The recent delivery of the 8,000
Charter rates continue to diverge, remaining firm for the larger ships in the Panamax and larger segments while softening in the smaller sizes of below 3,000 teu. Demand in the larger sizes have been surprisingly resilient despite the ongoing weakness in the freight markets. All prompt vessels of 5,000 teu and above have been snatched up, with the tight supply to persist until the end of the year. But the supply-demand balance for smaller ships have started to weaken, with a significant number