Taking advantage of the red-hot container shipping market, China’s largest domestic liner operator Zhonggu Logistics will reap a profit of at least US$69 million from selling four Panamax ships.
In a filing to the Shanghai Stock Exchange on 26 April, Zhonggu said that the ships, Zhong Gu Guang Dong (built 2008), Zhong Gu Guang Xi (built 2008), Zhong Gu He Bei (built 2005) and Zhong Gu Zhe Jiang (built 2004), will be sold to a major liner operator for a total of between US$128 million and US$135 million.
The buyer’s name was not disclosed, but since mid-April, all four ships have been chartered to French operator CMA CGM for two years at daily rates ranging between US$37,000 and US$38,000.
The ships, with capacities ranging between 4,294TEU and 5,089TEU, were all acquired second-hand by Zhonggu in 2017, except the Zhong Gu He Bei, which was purchased in March 2020.
Zhonggu paid around US$30 million for the four ships, but the remarkable freight recovery has seen asset valuations appreciating five times since then. The company stated that it estimates it will record a net gain of between CNY460 million (US$69 million) and CNY494 million (US$74.1 million).
Zhonggu said, “This transaction is conducive to upgrading our fleet, and will enhance the competitiveness of the company’s fleet.”
Zhonggu has ordered sixteen 4,600TEU ships from Yangzijiang Shipbuilding and China Merchants Jinling Shipyard (Nanjing), with options for another two vessels.
Also on 26 April, Zhonggu released its Q1 2021 results, with revenue up 26% year-on-year to CNY2.64 billion (US$401.22 million) and net profit rising fourfold to CNY231 million (US$35.16 million).