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HANSA 04-2020

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Märkte | Markets

Märkte | Markets Another stress test for shipping With the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, shipping markets continue to face enormous pressure. The container sector could be affected the worst. By Michael Hollmann It’s a nightmare scenario for world trade and shipping, turned reality. As growing sectors of the European and North American economies are put into shutdown, market imbalances in shipping are growing more severe by the day. The combination of industrial losses and large-scale retrenchment of consumption across the western world dashed all hopes of a recovery following the cautious return to normality in China. Container shipping could be in for the worst demand shock of all sectors, according to latest analyses. Given their role as primary import markets for containerized cargo, the freezing of economic activities in Europe and North America might result in a slump of the same magnitude as during the world financial crisis of 2008/09. Danish market research firm Sea-Intelligence forecast a collapse in container bookings of 10% or 17 mill. TEU this year – the same relative decrease as in 2009. As long as the Covid-19 crisis was confined to Asia, until early/mid March, its forecast was only -1.9 mill. TEU für global loaded container traffic. The experts argue that the tentative recovery in trade, borne out by the rise in export shipments in China since mid February, will collapse again once the halt to procurement by western importers will hit Chinese factories. The gap would only begin to materialise in the second half of March when producers in the east have cleared their backlog of orders. Financial resilience tested Sea-Intelligence estimates that financial losses for container lines from the cargo slump could reach 17 bill. $. Fears are growing that the sector may experience bankruptcies as in 2016 when Hanjin Shipping went bust. Capitalisation of liner shipping is not what it should be after a decade of financial strain and many tramp shipowners have reason to worry about the performance of their charterers. Since our last issue of HANSA, the tonnage surplus in container shipping surged to new highs, according to the idle fleet count of Alphaliner. In unserem Portal HANSA+ vereinen wir eine Übersicht wichtiger Kennzahlen der Märkte. Sichern Sie sich den Zugriff auf Fracht- und Charterraten in der Container-, Bulk- und Tank schifffahrt, Bunkerpreise, MPP-, Shortsea- und Umschlagindizes, Ölpreise und vieles mehr … Erfahren Sie mehr über alle Optionen jederzeit unter www.hansa-online.de. A staggering 127 very large container vessels with intakes above 7,500 TEU were out of service as per early March – nearly all of them owned or leased by liner operators. No doubt, the focus for carriers over the coming months will be to manage and utilise their own fleets as efficiently as possible. Charter tonnage naturally plays second fiddle except in vessel categories where operators don’t habe enough ships of their own. Analysts and shipbrokers are still watching events unfold and it will be interesting to see how the likes of Clarksons Platou, MSI and Drewry will adjust their forecasts for container shipping. Short term developments saw chartering activity for container vessels pick up again since the middle of February, with numbers of spot vessels stabilising and even contracting in a number of segments. Enquiry for panamax vessels as for gearless 2,700/2,800 TEU increased notably, according to brokers, allowing owners to keep fixing levels for 4,200- 4,400 TEU panamaxes steady at around 12,000 $/day. Rates for post-panamaxes of 6,000-8,500 TEU also held relatively stable. The scene was more muted in the sub-2,000 TEU feeder sectors although certain vessel types definitely bucked the trend. Curiously, the steep fall in bunker prices and the collapse in the spread of low-sulphur and heavy fuel oil prices did not stop the eco-Bangkokmax 1,700 TEU type to wrench back some of the erlier losses. Rates have edged up again to 10,500 $/per day in Asia, up from lows of 9,500 $/ day in February. Meanwhile the European market for feeder class tonnage could be heading the opposite direction. Even before the sharp increase in quarantine measures across Europe, brokers were warning against a slump in tonnage demand from feeder operators during March because of the slowdown in import transhipment activity due to reduced calls of deepsea vessels ex Far East. Carriers had stepped up their blank sailings considerably before in view of the Covid-19 shutdowns in China. More than 30 feeder ships below 2,000 TEU were believed to be coming up for redelivery in Europe during March, with brokers expecting around one third of them to suffer employment gaps. Tail winds for smaller bulkers Turning to the dry cargo markets, charter earnings for deepsea bulk carriers started lifting from the ground over the last weeks after hitting rock bottom during February. Capesize vessels remain 8 HANSA – International Maritime Journal 04 | 2020

Märkte | Markets Orders & Sales New Orders Container Interest for fresh orders increased slightly. Singapore’s Greathorse Tiger placed an order for up to 8 dual-fuel newbuildings (2+6 x 14,000 TEU) at Yangzijiang. The vessels will cost around 110 mill. $ each, deliveries are expected to start from mid-2022. Salam Pacific ordered one 680 TEU ship (incl. 100 reefer plugs) at Nanjing Pacific. Furthermore, Chinese operator SITC entered into shipbuilding contracts with Yangzijiang for a 2,400 TEU sub-panamax ship. Secondhand Sales Activity continues to stay on a high level during. The coronavirus outbreak did not dampen buying demand. In the bigger segments, the two 6,655 TEU ships »SM Hong Kong« and »SM Seattle« were purchased from KMTC for 20 mill. $ each. In the feeder segment, Sinokor purchased the »Sinar Sangir« and »Sinar Subang«. The 1,708 TEU vessels, built 2008 at Imabari, were acquired for 7.25 mill. $ each. Demolition Sales The situation at the recycling market for container vessels remains unchanged – only a few vessels were sold for scrap. Most recycling candidates received prices below 0/ ldt. The 1,016 TEU vessel »Armada Papua« for example was sold to Bangladeshi breakers for 3/ldt. JG Container ship t / c market 450 400 350 19.09.19 Container freight market WCI Shanghai-Rotterdam 1,723 $/FEU - 7.0 % WCI Shanghai-Los Angeles 1,608 $/FEU + 7.4 % Dry cargo / Bulk 19.03.20 Month on Month 390 • - 4.4 % Baltic Dry Index 629 + 31.0 % Time charter averages / spot: $/d Capesize 5TC average 3,507 + 28.2 % Panamax 4TC average (82k) 7,975 + 17.3 % Supramax 10TC average (58k) 8,304 + 49.5 % Handysize 7TC average (38k 7,464 + 36.4 % Forward / ffa front month Apr’20 ($/day) Capesize 180k 4,581 - 20.2 % Panamax 74k 6,743 - 12.8 % MPP March ’19 $ 7,440 TMI Toepfer’s Multipurpose Index March ’20 $ 7,221 12,500 tdw MPP/HL »F-Type« vessel for a 6-12 months TC Tankers Shortsea / Coaster Norbroker 3,500 dwt earnings est. 2,900 + 0.0 % HC Shortsea Index 18.39 - 0.9 % ISTFIX Shortsea Index 431 - 5.7 % Norbroker: spot t/c equivalent assessment basis round voyage North Sea/Baltic; HC Shipping & Chartering index tracking spot freights on 5 intra-European routes; Istfix Istanbul Freight Index covering spot freight ex Black Sea Bunkers COMPASS Baltic Dirty Tanker Index 1379 + 58.5 % Baltic Clean Tanker Index 851 + 21.6 % VLSFO 0.5 Rotterdam $/t 225 - 52.3 % MGO Rotterdam $/t 284 - 46.3 % Forward / Swap price Q2 / 20 VLSFO 0.5 Rotterdam $/t 194 - 56.3 % Data per 19.03.2020, Alterations within four weeks extremely exposed amid the slump in steel and iron ore demand, with the time charter average covering only half the daily operating expenses. The panamax and geared vessel types displayed a more positive performance over the past month. A rise in fixing activity for East Coast South America grain stems propelled rates higher both in the Atlantic and the Pacific, although momentum started fizzling out in mid- March. Higher activity in South America, on the European continent and in southeast Asia also pushed up rate levels for supramaxes and handy bulkers considerably. Average time charter trip earnings increased by around 49% and 36%, with peak rates of more than 15,000 $/d per day done on larger handies in north Europe and over 20,000 $/day for 58,000 dwt supramaxes for liftings from the US Gulf to the Far East. n MPP & Shortsea Shipping The multipurpose heavy lift segment recorded a softer trend in charter rates, as illustrated by a 2.6% drop in the Toepfer Multipurpose Index (TMI) for 12,500 dwt F class ships. Particularly tonnage in Asia was struggling as the flow of project cargoes in China got hampered by lock-downs and extended holidays. The market in Europe and the Mediterranean was reported to be better, with fewer vessels in spot position and a lack of container equipment prompting certain cargoes to move back into the conventional mode. Some breakbulk trips ex European continent were reportedly concluded at 5-digit levels, not far short of rates for handysize bulkers. In the European shortsea sector, freights for mini-bulkers remained steady in North Europe, with 3,000 t cargoes ex Baltic states to ARAG ports continuing to fetch over 25 €/t, according to sector analyst BMTI. However, rate levels in the Mediterranean declined by more than 10% month-on-month, weighed down also by a slowdown in trade with Italy. BMTI‘s compound European Short Sea Index (EUSSIX) for all regions from the Baltic down into the Black Sea edged down by 5.8% to 21.68. With voyage calculations benefitting from the drop in fuel prices, average time charter equivalents for ships employed in spot trades were stable. Norwegian broker Norbroker’s earnings assessment for 3,500 dwt vessels was unchanged from previous month at 2,900 €/day. n HANSA – International Maritime Journal 04 | 2020 9

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