New ConTex gets spring feelings!
(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.