Dr Peters puts idle ships back in service.
PROMINENT German KG financier Dr Peters is reactivating all of the company"s five laid-up container vessels, citing increased rates and a lift in activity in the troubled sector after Chinese New Year holidays ended.
Owner of Germany"s largest shipping fleet with 8.8m dwt, the Dr Peters Group has found short-term or voyage charter employment for the boxships, which range in size from 600 teu to 1,500 teu.
?All our vessels are coming back to business,? Dr Peters Group managing partner Jurgen Salamon said.
?The rate level is not sufficient but it is better to earn a little bit.?
Dr Peters has 32 container vessels amongst its 65 ships under management.
Smaller-sized boxships have been hardest hit by the crisis engulfing the sector, as rates plunged more than 80% in 18 months. Those with capacity ranging from 500 teu to 2,000 teu account for over one third of the estimated 500 idle or unemployed boxships, according to consultancy Alphaliner.
Among those Dr Peters vessels being reactivated is the 2007-built 698 teu DS Blue Wave and sister ship DS Blue Ocean, which were laid up in Hamburg. Others were in Asia.
They will join Dr Peter"s pool of 24 boxships. Mr Salamon did not expect any market recovery until 2011 or 2012 but said he saw ?a small light on the horizon? for containers, which was an encouraging sign for the KG funds. Many are experiencing negative cash flow from idle vessels or falling time charter rates now below operating costs, squeezing liquidity and placing some on the brink of insolvency.
Germany controls about one third of the global shipping fleet and is a prominent supplier of tonnage to global container lines, which have handed back vessels as time charters expire. About six months ago one in six idle boxships was owned by a KG fund.
Mr Salamon said he would review the prospects for the container sector in mid-2010 and then decide whether to sell any vessels.
He said problems among shipping funds in the group were limited to smaller containerships, which were all financed with HSH Nordbank, the largest shipping financier in German.
?We are finding great support and a very strong understanding for our problems and we can work closely and trustworthily together,? he said of the bank.
?So I am optimistic that if the market (improvement continues) we can solve the problems.?