OWNERS of mid- to small-sized
containerships are optimistic that they can continue to clinch daily
charter hire rate increases for extensions or new contracts despite of
the slowdown in global box traffic, protracted trade wars and scrubber
The confidence comes as the orderbooks in the smaller containership sectors are empty.
Speaking to Bloomberg radio, Global Ship Lease (GSL) chief executive Ian Webber said that although trade wars and tariffs
were "never good for business", they could create opportunities for
smaller liner services, reported UK's The Loadstar.
"The very big ships, the ones deployed on trades between China and North
America and China and Europe, are the ones that are going to be most
affected directly by tariffs and trade wars, at least until something is
resolved," said Mr Webber.
"The mid-sized and smaller fleet is outside of that - that's 70 per cent
of global container trade - and that is where my company is focused.
There will be an indirect effect of course, but we expect the direct
result to be negligible," he said.
GSL owns 45 containerships ranging in size from 2,207 to 11,040 TEU,
which it charters out to the major shipping lines on a fixed-rate period
lease. It has US$750 million of contracted revenue.
Mr Webber sees a demand growth in the secondary trades of three to four
per cent this year, driven by local economies and the shipment of goods
that emerging nations.
He added that there were still opportunities to increase the fleet
selectively with second-hand vessels of between five and 10 years old,
preferably with a charter attached.
Moreover, he said, with asset values still at the bottom of the cycle
there were investment opportunities "for those that have the appetite
and capital, which we do".
Supporting Mr Webber's outlook for the sector, Alphaliner's recent
charter review concluded that the market remained "bullish in the face
of a continued tight supply and a resilient underlying demand".
It said: "Although some charterers have recently focused on fixing
scrubber-fitted vessels, non scrubber-fitted ships are also expected to
remain in good demand in the medium term."