AP Moller-Maersk has extended charters on five neopanamax boxships taken from John Fredriksen’s SFL Corp.

The Danish liner giant has kept the 10,500-teu sister ships Cap San Juan, Cap San Lazaro and Cap San Vincent (all built 2015) on extension for 60 months.

The five-year charters start next year and run until the middle of 2030.

The charter rate is around $38,350 per day, or $210m in total.

Maersk has also exercised additional one-year options for three other SFL vessels of between 8,700 teu and 9,500 teu.

That will add a further $30m to SFL’s charter backlog, which equates to a rate of around $27,400 per day.

SFL chief executive Ole Hjertaker, who alluded to the deals during an earnings call this month, has described the boxship sector as “quite robust”.

The Oslo-based tonnage provider, which has a container fleet of 34 vessels, also agreed to charter the 1,700-teu Green Ace (built 2005) to Maersk until the fourth quarter of 2024.


While demand for container ships is strong in all segments, the market for larger vessels for charter this year is drying up.

That has spurred talk that liner operators are looking at taking a series of 8,000-teu newbuildings out of 2026 positions.

The tight market means every fixture pointing to better terms than last done.

The Schulte Group has fixed the 5,047-teu Lady Jane (built 2005) with Hong Kong-based Orient Overseas Container Line.

It has been taken at a strong rate of $32,000 per day for two years for a fixture beginning in the second half of the year, according to brokers.

That is almost double the rate at which a sister vessel was fixed in December for a flexible three to seven-month deal, according to Braemar.

“This means that while the charter rate has increased by approximately 83% in six months, the charter period has also quadrupled,” the shipbroker notes.

Rates and periods for smaller feeders have also increased. That is reflected in the recent fixture by Hamburg-based MPC Container Ships of four sub-panamax boxships.

The 2,800-teu Stadt Dresden, AS Carelia, AS Cypria (all built 2006) and AS Claudia (built 2007) have been fixed for two years with Germany’s Hapag-Lloyd at rates close to $20,000 per day.

The premium is nearly 25% higher than the vessels might have got at the beginning of the year.