A sharp drop in idle container ship capacity during the first half of June is fuelling hopes among container ship tramp owners that charter hire rates could pick up again.
Paris-based market researcher Alphaliner reported yesterday that the idle container ship fleet (charter-free vessels and liner-controlled vessels without service assignment) contracted from 334,000 teu as per 1 June to just 228,400 teu (1.2% of global cellular fleet) on 15 June.
This is the lowest level in five years, resulting from recent strong demand for Panamaxes and Post-Panamaxes for new Asia/US East Coast and Asia/Middle East services, Alphaliner said.
“We were stunned to see a sharp drop like this as the charter market [quietened] over the past fortnight,” explained one Hamburg chartering broker. Charter hire rates for container vessels trended a bit lower in June after strong increases from February until April, although they are still much higher than operating expenses in most segments.
Given the latest drop in slack charter ship capacity, charter rates could start to rise again either before or after the summer holiday period in July/August, the broker pointed out. Latest fixtures for both Post-Panamaxes and Maxi-Panamaxes of around 5,100 teu already showed a slightly firmer trend, it was reported.