Average charter rates for tramp container vessels are starting to see greater downward pressure as fixing activity slows down, according to shipbrokers.
The ConTex, published by the Hamburg Shipbrokers and Ship Agents’ Association VHSS, closed last week with a marginal 0.2% loss at 567 points.
Especially gearless sub-panamax vessels of 2,700/2,800 teu look more exposed now as spot/prompt availability of charter vessels in the Far East has gone up.
“The market overall remains static and activity levels are showing the first signs of slackening as the northern summer approaches”, commented one broker.
Average hire rates assessments by the ConTex panel for the gearless 2,700 teu type declined by 0.7% basis 24-month periods and by 1.2% for the more common 12-month periods.
Some vessels of this type fixed short periods at levels around 12,000-12,500 USD/day in Asia last week, against market rates of around 14,000 USD/day some weeks back.
Open units in the Atlantic still command firmer rates in the high 13,000’s USD/day due to a shorter tonnage list, however the tendency here is slowing down too, with a few liner-controlled ships now put up for relet, according to brokers.
By contrast, rates for geared 1,700 teu types are holding steady at close to 12,000 USD/day for standard designs in the east. Post-panamaxes and panamaxes are seen maintaining last done levels, too, following a rash of fixtures of the past three weeks.