MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company has swooped on a pair of German-owned sub-panamax container ships from Oslo-listed MPC Container Ships.

The world’s largest liner company has picked up the 3,586-teu AS Nadia (built 2007) and 1,496-teu AS Ragna (built 2009).

The vessels are together estimated to be worth more than $29m.

Hamburg-managed tonnage provider MPC Container is selling the older ships as it renews and modernises its fleet with newbuildings and younger secondhand vessels.

Earlier this year, the company sold the 2,800-teu AS Clarita (built 2006) to MSC for about $10.3m.

The German owner appears to have made a profit on the two latest vessels, which it acquired ahead of the pandemic-inspired market boom.

The conventionally powered AS Nadia was purchased from Reederei Nord in late 2020 for just $10m, and today has an estimated market value of $17.6m, according to VesselsValue.

The vessel was one of several ships where MPC Container renegotiated early delivery last year, together with cash compensation, from US operator Pasha Hawaii.

Today, the AS Nadia operates for MSC in its New Capricorn service from South East Asia to Australia and New Zealand.

Double sale

MPC Container has also sold the smaller AS Ragna to the liner giant, a vessel estimated to be worth about $11.5m.

The ship was also acquired for about $9.1m in 2018 and currently operates for Israeli liner operator Zim in its inter-Mediterranean service.

The sales reflect continued interest from Geneva-headquartered MSC after months during which container ship charter rates have risen and remain strong.

The ConTex, a measure of boxship charter rates for vessels up to 6,500 teu, closed at 771 points last week.

That is 5.7% higher over the week and is massively up from 514 at the start of the year.

Similarly, shipbroker Clarksons’ overall Containership Timecharter Rate Index stands at 101 points, the highest level since July 2023 and 50% higher than in early December.

Charter rates appear to have stabilised although shipowners are looking to increase the length of the periods.

This resulted in a notable increase in rates for sub-panamax container ships, as demonstrated in a fixture by AP Moller-Maersk, which extended the charter of the 2,700-teu Ariana A (built 2005) for 12 months at $18,000 per day.

“There is still plenty of demand across all regions, with some segments of the container market sold out on prompt tonnage,” the ConTex noted in its weekly commentary.

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