Charter Market: A Promising Short-Term Outlook for NOOs
The container charter market continues to evolve favourably for non-operating owners (NOOs) with demand gathering pace across most size segments.
Supply meanwhile is tight, especially for prompt tonnage, with the number of spot ships having halved in the past fortnight from twenty to ten.
Against this backdrop, charter rates are showing a slight upward movement which is expected to become more tangible in the coming weeks, as demand for tonnage is forecast to remain strong in the foreseeable future.
Optimism is therefore clearly back among NOOs, with the short term indeed looking reasonably promising for them.
Some charterers are also upbeat for the coming months, thanks to a strong US economy and higher than expected cargo volumes coming out of China.
However, the principal threat hanging over the market, that is the colossal orderbook, has not gone away.
This year, 340 newbuild container vessels of all sizes for a capacity of just under 2.4 M teu will hit the water, based on Alphaliner data.
Compared to an average of 1M teu of newbuilding capacity injected in the world containership fleet every year in the past years, this is a sizeable difference which the market will struggle to absorb, particularly in a context of weaker cargo volumes.
As a result, only a large and continuous wave of ship demolitions and a recovering cargo demand could mitigate the problem.
On the latter point though, the ongoing inflationary issues around the world, high-interest rates and the volatility of energy prices caused by the war in Ukraine are still badly impacting consumers' spending power.
And there are no signs anywhere that these problems will go away any time soon.