ZIM Integrated Shipping Services has announced a new charter transaction with a group of investors initiated by MPC Capital AG, the Hamburg-based global investment manager.

The Israeli container line is to charter a total of up to six 5,500 teu wide-beam newbuild vessels for a period of seven years, at a cost of approximately $600m, it said Wednesday.

The vessels, to be constructed at Korean-based shipyard, HJ Shipbuilding & Construction (formerly known as Hanjin Heavy Industries & Construction Co.) are due for delivery between May 2023 and February 2024.

“We are pleased to announce another attractive chartering transaction for newbuild vessels, securing modern and efficient tonnage vessels which are ideally suited to serve on our expanded network of expedited services, as well as other regional services,” Eli Glickman, ZIM President & CEO, said.

“We continue to advance our strategy of chartering in highly versatile vessels to strengthen our commercial prospects, maintain our flexibility and enhance our position as an innovative provider of seaborne transportation.”

MPC Capital claims a proven track record in shipping, after structuring and financing 120 shipping deals. With shipping investments totalling $10.6bn, it has acquired 450 vessels since inception in 1994, involving over 20 institutional investors. It also has shareholdings in Wilhelmsen Ahrenkiel Ship Management and commercial ship manager Harper Petersen.

Haifa-based ZIM’s preference for long-term charter agreements allows it to employ ships for the best years of their useful lives, before putting them back on the market. In the past 14 months, it concluded four such agreements, for 31 vessels totalling over 283,000 teu, and expects a total of 36 vessels, 28 of them LNG dual-fueled, amounting to 318,000 teu, to be delivered in 2023 and 2024.

Today, ZIM stands at 10th position in the Alphaliner 100, with an existing fleet just shy of 450,000 total teu. With an orderbook-to-fleet ratio of 41%, only Taiwan’s Wan Hai Lines has a comparable ratio at over 40% in Alphaliner’s top 30. In a sign of how quickly conditions have impacted the industry in the past two years, Wan Hai admitted in September 2019 that the then ratio was only 10%.

Last month, ZIM announced record profits of $4.65bn in 2021. It expects another bumper year in 2022, with adjusted EBITDA forecast to increase from $6.6bn in 2021 to around $7.3bn.

Source: Seatrade Maritime News