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HANSA 12-2021

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MÄRKTE | MARKETS Signs

MÄRKTE | MARKETS Signs of cooling in overheated spot market Various indices for container shipping are pointing to a slight relaxation in space shortages – only a false dawn? By Michael Hollmann Exporters and importers are afforded a bit of relief on overseas shipments as the red-hot container spot market continued its gradual decline since China’s Golden Week in October. However, experts believe the market will remain volatile, warning that there could still be a rebound to peak levels ahead of Chinese New Year. It is the first time in many months that the benchmark indices in our market compass table for container freights and charter rates trend down in unison. The most striking decrease could be noticed in spot freight levels on the eastbound transpacific route – the world’s busiest container trade lane. The Freightos Baltic index rate for the China/US West Coast run, which covers the most urgent spot segment including space guarantees, has fallen by over 25 % since September, hovering just below 15,000 $/FEU as HANSA went to press. Meanwhile the Xeneta Shipping Index for the same route, covering rates with a longer validity up to 31 days, eroded by 7.4 % monthon-month to 8,023 $/FEU. The difference between the two reflects the premiums for very prompt loadings. The decline in freight levels took place despite a temporary worsening in port congestion on the US West Coast, with the number of container ships anchored in the San Pedro Bay rising to over 80 units at the start of calendar week 46. However, anecdotal reports from the US logistics and freight forwarding sectors suggest that fresh import demand has somewhat slackened in recent weeks. All the cargo for the Xmas shopping season is on its way or already stored in warehouses in the US. Import demand past the peak? The National Retail Federation projects a 18 % increase in US container imports for the full year 2021 to a new annual record of 26 mill. TEU. Attention is meanwhile shifting to 2022 and how import volumes for the next peak season will develop. Can this year’s pace of growth be maintained? Economists say that consumption patterns will inevitably shift back to services at some point following the boost in spending on physical goods amid the lockdowns and corona restrictions. However, speaking at a panel discussion hosted by Hapag-Lloyd, Otto Schacht, Executive Vice President Sea Logistics at Kuehne+Nagel, stated that sentiment among major US importers has not weakened, yet. Many of them were budgeting for another 20 % growth in volumes for next year in order to bring inventory levels back up, he explained. Freight forwarders, shippers and carriers are closely watching month-onmonth developments in the transpacific trade. It is the only route that has seen massive growth compared with pre-corona levels, buoyed by hefty increases in government spending. If growth there abates and fleet capacity gets released into other trades, the knock-on effects could be significant. Florian Braun, Head of Ocean Freight EMEA at Flexport, said that the market would probably have to wait until Chinese New Year at the start of February for next year’s freight fundamentals to shape up. Until then markets could experience another rally due to an export rush ahead of factory closures in China. Carriers’ appetite for tonnage dissipated slightly in the past weeks, judging by notable consecutive falls in charter VIEWPOINT Reefer market aims for new peaks Seaborne fresh fruit trades are about to soar over the next months as harvested products flood the ports in the southern hemisphere. With container lines distracted by high-paying dry commodities ex China, specia lized reefer operators expect another uplift in rates and earnings, according to Glenn Selling, Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Cool Carriers. The company is part of Baltic Shipping – the world’s largest reefer operator with over 40 vessels. Only a couple of weeks until the southern hemisphere fruit season kicks in … Are you thrilled about the prospects? Glenn Selling: 2021 was a good year for us and the outlook for the next peak season starting with Chile around Xmas is very strong. Our capacities are stretched already. Normally after the New Zealand and the South Africa seasons we have a seasonal dip of 2–3 months from August before Morocco starts and after that Chile. But that never happened this year. There are a lot new clients knocking on our door who are in desperate need of space due to the fact so much reefer container capacity got stuck in China. We try to balance these new opportunities with ongoing requirements of long-standing customers. Clients with a muliti-year agreement are indeed the winners whilst those with seasonal rate discussions will have to accept increases in line with the present market situation. Right now we are focusing on the upcoming Chile season and contract ne - Glenn Selling COO, Cool Carriers gotiations for next year’s banana business ex Ecuador. We are also studying the possibility of a liner service from South © Cool Carriers 10 HANSA – International Maritime Journal 12 | 2021

Orders & Sales – Container Ships New Orders The newbuilding market has calmed down somewhat. Recently, priority was given to smaller vessels, as order activities show: 2 x 1,100 TEU from TS Lines or 6 x 2,900 TEU (HR Lines). Speculation about further orders for larger units continues, of course. Secondhand Sales An effect of the increasing price levels can also be noticed in the Secondhand market. Nevertheless, some shipowners are still buying, especially liner carriers are still stocking up their fleets. The share of charter tonnage in the world fleet has fallen from around 56 % a year ago to 51 %. Further transactions are likely to follow despite the price trend. Wan Hai Lines, among others, has acquisition plan; around 200 mill. $ were recently set aside for this purpose. Demolition Sales Well, what can you say? Even though the steep rise in freight and charter rates seems to be losing momentum (albeit still at enormously high levels), shipowners obviously do not want to get rid of their tonnage. In this sense: No demo news. rate indices. The declines were mainly driven by a steep fall in enquiry for shortterm charters which were previously fixed at six-digit hire levels, as shipbrokers point out. Clearly the economics of such expensive ad-hoc round trips were shattered by the fact that peak spot rates have weakened and voyage cost calculations vastly exceeded due to excessive waiting times, with ships waiting 50 days and longer in some cases for a berth at Los Angeles. Brokers have also raised their eyebrows at occasional long-term fixtures that were done at levels below last done although the relevance of these for the entire market was doubtful, some said. For instance, the panamax 4,252 TEU »SPIL Kartini« was extended by OOCL for three years at a moderate $ 51,000 while the 2,702 TEU »Najade« extended with Wan Hai Lines at $ 35,000 for three years. Both were forward fixtures for lay/can dates in March – after the ominous Chinese New Year ... Container ship t / c market 3100 2700 2300 1900 1500 1100 24.06.21 Container freight market WCI Shanghai-Rotterdam WCI Shanghai-Los Angeles MÄRKTE | MARKETS COMPASS ConTex 13,400 $/FEU 10,038 $/FEU TMI – Toepfer's er's Multipurpose Index 18.11.21 Month on Month 2,691 -17.6 % Dry cargo / Bulk Baltic Dry Index 2,454 Time charter averages / spot: $/d Capesize 5TC average 27,033 Panamax 5TC average (82k) 21,025 Supramax 10TC average (58k) 24,725 Handysize 7TC average (38k) 28,307 Forward / ffa front month (Nov 21): $/d Capesize 180k 22,429 Panamax 82k 19,940 MPP -8.0 % -7.9 % -47.3 % -52.9 % -45.7 % -38.0 % -23.1 % -45.7 % -50.5 % November '21 17,407 $ Africa to Europe, but so far the industry prefers to gamble on enough container capacity to handle the volumes out of South Africa. What kind of new clients and opportu - nities are there? Selling: The big new thing for us this year was export of orange juice from China to the US East Coast, to Turkey and to other places. We had four sailings in total so far, loading the juice in drums and on pallets under deck. Other reefer carriers were doing it as well. That is the kind of cargo we normally don’t have access to as it gets shipped with container lines. Also, the meat industry in Brazil has been screaming for specialized fleet capacity. Another big new trade on the backhaul for specialized reefer vessels was palletized pasta from Turkey to Venezuela. Do port congestion and trade disruptions cause you any trouble? Selling: Not right now. We had issues in China earlier this year when one of our ships carrying citrus had to wait several weeks for permission to discharge but nothing since then. Contrary to the container liner business, there are no delays worth mentioning for us. In Los Angeles for example we have our own arrangements with a pier where our ships go directly past all the container ships. Container logistics for us is not as complicated as for the container lines. Our reefer containers don’t leave the port most of the time. We discharge if necessary with our own gear, strip the containers in the port and put them back on the same ship if possible. It’s a 2–3 day operation that works very well. Interview: Michael Hollmann November '20 6,729 $ 12,500 tdw MPP/HL »F-Type« vessel for a 6–12 months TC Tankers Baltic Dirty Tanker Index Baltic Clean Tanker Index 795 599 +7.9 % +5.3 % Shortsea / Coaster Norbroker 3,500 dwt earnings est. HC Shortsea Index ISTFIX Shortsea Index 5,000 27.08 2,759 +11.1 % +14.0 % +25.8 % 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 VLSFO 0.5 Rotterdam $/t MGO Rotterdam $/t Forward / Swap price Q1/22 VLSFO 0.5 Rotterdam $/t 555 645 536 -7.7 % -8.4 % -6.8 % Data per 18.11.2021, month-on-month HANSA – International Maritime Journal 12 | 2021 11

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