(27.04.2017) It is 18 months ago, that the New ConTex has been on a level above 400 points. With an increase of 1,5 %, respectively 6 points more than last week, crossed the border again and let the index finish the month of April at 405 points.

All size and period categories ended the week with moderate improvements with one exception only: the 12 months evaluation for the 4250 TEU Panamax class lost on a w-o-w basis USD 38,- resp. 0,4% and broke the 5-digits area back to USD 9.986,- only. Nevertheless, specially the 12 months evaluation of the Babypanamaxes is still leading the y-o-y change with an outstanding increase of 87 per cent.

 In general, it can be mentioned that the Easter holiday break a fortnight ago did not harm the activity level too much and yet the number of fixtures concluded remains fairly stable. The only “downer” to be mentioned is still the situation that the recent successful improvement of the charter hire rates for the bigger units has not cascaded down so far to the smaller feedership units, which still need to catch up further.

(31.3.2017) The market improved further in almost all segments except for the classes below 1700 TEU.

Looking at numbers the segments which made the biggest step upwards were the 2500 TEU and 2700 TEU sizes as well as the panamaxes. The one segment that is most impressive in terms of rate gains is undoubtedly the panamames that have now gone up more than 100 pct from beginning of the year.

When it comes to the 2500 TEU the increase happened quite rapidly, this week one standard 2500 TEU was fixed at low 9´s in the med for a comparably strong period of 6-9 months and the ConTex reacted accordingly with the value for 6 months that went up from low USD 7´s to low 8´s in just one week with further improvement to likely follow next week.

The feeders below 2000 TEU are still struggling to follow the upswing of bigger segments, especially in the Atlantic.

(24.3.2017) The New ConTex improved by a further 4,5 pct during the week and has reached the same level of 341 as seen a year ago.

The market is active in all segments and generally the periods actually concluded are longer and less flexible compared to just a month ago but operators are clearly reluctant to commit on longer periods which partly explains the willingness to improve charter rates.

With the gaps to be covered by the Alliances large tonnage dissapears and with new panamax demand and still with uncovered forward positions the 4250 TEU segment benefits with charter rates improving steadily and with a slight delay similar improvements are seen in the 3500 TEU segment.

New ConTex levels for the 2500-2700 TEU segment may appear undervalued. The Asian Market appear balanced but the Atlantic is short of supply. The feeder segments of 1100 and 1700 TEU has indeed seen improved trading conditions and the trend is firming but still appear somewhat vulnerable.

(17.03.2017) The obvious shortage in the larger size segment with a record number of fixtures is now filtering down to the medium-sizes with a sharp improvement especially on the figures for the 4,250 teu segment of as much as 23% in just one week or even 41.8% on Month-on-Month basis on the 12 months charter rates. Considering this it is no surprise that the New ConTex went up from 314 to 325 points which however is still below the 341 points reported one year ago.

Although overcapacity in general remains extant the number of spot or idle ships is falling sharply across most sizes, except for tonnage under 2,000 teu. As a consequence the 1100 and 1700 teu vessels still remain more or less on the same level as last week with only marginal changes.

Following the 4,250 teu segment also the 3,500, 2,700 and 2,500 teu vessels slowly but not to the same extend yet following the present positive development. A combination of second-hand and demolition sales, as well as regular flow of enquiries should further reduce the available capacities. As a result, charter rates have started increasing and it has to be seen if a more substantially rise in the next weeks will be possible.


(10.3.2017) Spring has arrived and it brought along reserved optimism as we are currently at the beginning of the traditionally most active period of the year for chartering. After a very depressing last quarter of 2016, a slow January and an ambiguous February we are observing now a very interesting upwards trend in all sizes and especially in sizes that either were up to now severely hit by very low rates (e.g Panamaxes) or stagnant, achieving similar or marginally less than similar rates (e.g. 2700-2800 TEU sector). Indeed, we have observed this week increased fixing activity at the 4250+ teu segment with rates substantially higher than last done (in many cases more than USD 500 increase).

Therefore, it comes as no surprise that the index for the 4250 has the highest positive change in both the 12 and 24 mos periods. It seems that the scrapping activity and cold lay ups are slowly starting to pay off as well as the fact that there are not as many 4250 teu vessels around as there used to. Furthermore, the 2700-2800 teu sector also appears to be doing quite well as the Charterers have demonstrated an increasing appetite for this size. The higher demand means higher rates and at such levels that might soon make the Charterers reconsider their approach to the 2700-2800 teu segment.

However, the Charterers hold quite a few vessels in very flexible TC employments and at pre 2017 low rates and hence they might try to keep these in their services until max periods unless they have no choice. Finally, having the experience of 2015, one needs to proceed with caution. Is this general increase here to stay? Or is it a transient phenomenon linked with the season? As advised, reserved optimism is key.


(3.3.2017) Another exciting week is coming to an end and the fixing activity is keeping its pace with more and more spot ships disappearing from the market. Especially in the larger segment only limited tonnage is available and it can only be a matter of time until Charterers also recognise that only a significant increase of charter hire will get them the ship they need. The number of vessels not being able to survive charters below OPEX is also increasing after this long lasting crisis, which has also taken its part to this market with strong upward potential. This is also underlined by this weeks ConTex which is showing another positive change from 0,5 % up to 2%. The biggest winner this week are all sizes from 2500 Teu and above with only the Panamax segment to slowly recover from the massive amount of spot vessels with an increase of 0,8%. It has also to be mentioned that not only the rates are picking up but also the usual flexibility granted by Owners seems to be over. It is now up to the Owners to try to increase rate levels above OPEX levels.

(24.2.2017) The New ConTex followed its trend of the previous weeks and moved another point up compared to the last week. All segments are positive, but below 1% in that period, except the 3500 TEU size which is up 1.3% showing now almost USD 5,600 daily (up USD 73 daily) for the duration of 12 months.

Obviously all numbers on a Month-on-Month basis are positive and the New ConTex went up 6 points in that period. On the M-o-M basis the biggest move is seen in the 2,500 TEU size being up USD 300 (4.4%) basis 24 months and even USD 331 (5.6%) up basis 12 months evaluation.

It seems that so far nobody is getting too excited since the gap between available tonnage and requirements is presently only narrowing and obviously not closed yet. Having said that, over all there are more and more positive signs visible together with an improved activity in the market and a certain tightness of some types of tonnage in specific areas. This will hopefully lead to a continuation of this trend during the next months.


(17.2.2017) The ConTex Index increased again this week – this time by two points bringing it to 305. This week the largest gain was made by the 3500 sector (12 months) which  increased 1.8% week-on week, reflecting the tightening availability of this size in the market. This increase was closely followed by the 2500 sector (12 months) which increased by USD 100, a 1.7% increase week-on-week. There was also further improvement in the 4250 sector on both the 12 and 24 month periods, highlighting Owners resistance to continue fixing at historically low rates. Bar the 1700 (12 months) which dropped 0.1%, all sectors increased by between 0.3 – 1.8%, giving some indication that the market might improve post-Chinese New Year. With the restructuring of the alliances also happening, one expects activity to increase in the coming weeks and months.

(3.2.2017) With the Chinese New Year in full swing, the ConTex saw another two point increase to 302. As expected  activity has slowed but the market level has remained steady, showing minimal gains across the sizes, with a few exceptions. The 2500 TEU types continue to rise, last week increasing by almost 1.5% on a 12 month basis on the back of tightening availablity, while the 4,250 TEU types have moved a tick lower on the 24 month assessement, despite a slight gain in the previous week, narrowing the spread between the rate level basis 12 and 24 month.

Altough the month on month changes indicate a positive trend, the year on year change put the current market level into perspective. The 4250 types have  had the steepest declines year on year and the prospects for this segment are still challenging.

(27.1.17) In the pre-Chinese New Year week the New ConTex continued its increase. It rose by two points to 300. However, the upcoming Chinese New Year and as a consequence thereof declining chartering activity was reflected in this week´s second evaluation. While the index rose by two points on Tuesday, on Thursday it remained constant.

Reviewing the weekly and monthly changes of the different vessel types on a 12 months basis, it becomes apparent that vessel types 2500 TEU and 2700 TEU achieved the biggest increases.
They are followed by types 1700 TEU and 3500 TEU. Vessel types 1100 TEU and 4250 TEU attained rather marginal gains.

Even though activity will most likely calm down in the next two weeks, the New ConTex´s development indicates a positive market trend, which should continue after Chinese New Year celebrations.

Happy Year of the Rooster to everyone!