THE charter hire rates for container vessels continue to drop this week, with the New ConTex dropping 9 points (or more than 2 per cent) to 391 points, according to IHS Maritime 360.
The market barometer, which is published by the Hamburg Shipbrokers' Association (VHSS), fell last week by 3 per cent, weighed down especially by heavy losses for large gearless tonnage. The index covers bellwether box ship types with slot intakes between 1,100 and 4,250 TEU.
Fixing levels for 4,250 TEU baby Panamax ships have been the first to plunge below last year's levels, with 24-month periods now being assessed at US$9,765 per day and 12-month durations at $7,688 daily. Some units were reportedly committed to charterers for flexible short- and medium-periods at levels below $7,000 a day last week.
Some brokers suggested that a rate of $6,000 a day may soon become the benchmark for baby Panamax tramp vessels in Asia.
The segment has been hit particularly hard by the latest slump in the container ship charter market, caused by unusually weak cargo growth and rapid redeliveries and idling of tonnage.
According to French broker Barry Rogliano Salles' Alphaliner service, the number of idle container ships of 3,000-5,099 TEU on October 19, had risen by about 30 per cent to 50 units within a fortnight. This includes liner-controlled vessels without service assignment and charter-free tramp vessels plus vessels in repair or under arrest.
Source : HKSG.