Chinese owners were the second biggest buyers, and edged ahead of the Japanese to become the second largest sellers.
According to latest analysis from Clarkson Research, the first-half sale and purchase total of 72m dwt was the second highest ever, and followed a record-breaking 2021 in which more than 140m dwt of ships changed hands in deals worth over $48bn. Meanwhile, despite some slight softening in containerships and bulker values recently, prices are still higher than the start of the year.
Since January, Clarkson indices are up by 11% in bulkers; 13% in containerships; and 32% in tankers. The value of sales, therefore, has risen firmly, Clarkson said, with the year-on-year total up 30% to more than $33bn so far.
In the container sector, last year’s record sales of 1.6m teu, equivalent to 6.7% of the start-year fleet, has softened so far in 2022. “Against the backdrop of extremely strong market conditions and robust demand for tonnage, the pace of activity has eased in 2022,” Clarkson said, “with tonnage very limited (especially in the larger sizes) and uncertainty over the demand outlook increasing. In the year to early August, some 159 container ships of 0.5m teu were sold, down by about 50% year-on-year.”
Buying and selling of tankers has remained very strong, with firmer markets boosting sentiment and some owners looking to capitalise on asset value gains. The 390 tankers of 38m dwt sold so far this year have struck a similar pace to the 2021 record, the analysts revealed. The tally is equivalent to 9.4% of the fleet on an annualised basis, and well above the 2011-20 average of 5.4%.
Deals in dry bulk were strong over the first half, although slightly below 2021 levels. About 30m dwt of bulk carrier capacity was sold in the first six months, but Clarkson has noted softer market sentiment over recent weeks. The 33m dwt sold in the year to date is down by 17% compared with 2021.
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