Drewry Predicts for MPV Rates Momentum

(Global) Charter Rates Forecast to Rise

Multipurpose charter rates are forecast to rise more than 1 percent in January, according to the latest data from research consultancy Drewry Maritime.

The forecast was published as part of the firm’s monthly Multipurpose Time Charter Index, and follows a strong increase in December.

“The Drewry Multipurpose Time Charter Index increased to $6,289 per day in December, representing a rise of 3.5 percent compared to the previous month … Drewry expects the index to rise a further 1.4 percent in January to reach $6,375 per day,” said Susan Oatway, senior analyst for multipurpose and breakbulk shipping at Drewry.

Chinese New Year Momentum

Drewry’s figures are reinforced by the latest data from fellow research firm Toepfer Transport, with its multipurpose index also showing a rebound in January, as it estimated rates will return to above US$7,000 this month for the first time since March last year.

Despite the positive start to 2021, both firm’s estimates still point to a yearly decline compared to pre-Covid levels, with Drewry’s index down 3.3 percent over the year to December 2020.

“The market in most sectors has lost momentum over the end of the year and we expect it to take a little time before it regains it. However with reports already coming in that Chinese New Year might not be the full stop it usually is, there is a good level of expectation for the short-term rate forecast,” Oatway added.

Headquartered in London, Drewry provides maritime research consultancy, market insights and advisory services across the global shipping sector.

Vessel Class Disparity

Drewry launched its Multipurpose Time Charter Index in November last year to track across a basket of vessel types and sizes over one-year period charter rates. The index is also used to  forecast forward-looking market movements for the month ahead.

Drewry said that rates rose in all sectors over December although there some disparity remained between larger heavy-lift capable tonnage and smaller vessels.

“The larger vessels benefitted from the container lines tapping into the MPV sector to cover short-term tightness, while the smaller, more short-sea focussed vessels saw a weakening of demand as the Christmas holidays drew nearer,” Oatway said.

Wallenius Wilhelmsen Reactivates Fleet

Norwegian shipping line Wallenius Wilhelmsen added a further postiivty for the sector with news that it now plans to reactivate vessels it had laid-up in mid-2020. Citing rising rates in the charter market, coupled with reduced capacity, the firm said it will bring up to nine vessels back into service out of a total of 16 that are in cold layup.

“Flexibility in the fleet has been a core strategic choice since the inception of Wallenius Wilhelmsen, ensuring our ability to adjust the fleet to our needs and shifting market demand,” said Craig Jasienski, CEO of Wallenius Wilhelmsen.
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