Container lines led by CMA CGM are paying big premiums for short periods.

The French liner operator has taken the 7,092-teu newbuilding TS Dubai (built 2024) for two to three months at a strong rate of $80,000 per day.

It is the fourth of six vessels being delivered this year to intra-Asian carrier TS Lines.

It will be handed over in June from CSSC Group’s Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding, which delivered the third in the series, the TS Hongkong (built 2024), on 30 April.

A fifth and sixth of the Sdari Sealion 7000-type vessels will be chartered out by TS Lines to Singapore-based Pacific International Lines under three-year charter contracts.

CMA CGM is paying a high rate for the TS Dubai. Six to 12-month charters for 6,800-teu vessels are close to $45,500 per day, according to Clarksons Research.

The vessel is one of a number of short-term charters in which CMA CGM has been prepared to cough up higher rates.

The company is reported to have fixed the 3,534-teu Northern Democrat (built 2009) at a strong $39,500 per day for 40 to 50 days.

Dried up

Liner operators are facing a shortage of charter market ships due to the Red Sea crisis and appear uncertain about the direction of the charter market.

Carriers are taking the ships from the charter market to address ad-hoc needs or to fill gaps that would otherwise result in sailing cancellations, according to Braemar.

The shipbroker said some carriers need extra vessels as rising port congestion is interfering with schedule reliability.

But carriers are also being forced to pay top dollar to take vessels on longer-term charters.

AP Moller-Maersk is reported to be paying $30,000 per day to take the 3,674-teu Lyme Bay (built 2013) for two years. If confirmed, that would be a significant mark-up in both period and rates.

Tailwind Shipping Lines has extended the charter of the 2,207-teu Kumasi (built 2001) for 70 to 100 days.

Tailwind, an affiliate of supermarket chain Lidl, is paying in excess of $22,000 per day, compared with $16,200 per day that it paid to take the Kumasi for charter in January.

Container ship charter rates are closing in on some of their highest levels since 2022.

Five months of consecutive rises have taken average boxship earnings to $24,712 per day, according to Clarksons.

That is close to their 2023 peak of $26,385 per day last June.