A German shipping fund plans to auction 14 containerships because of an inability to charter them profitably.
MPC Offen Flote, a fund organized by MPC Capital, bought the ships for $630 million five years ago, but charter rates have dropped so much that the fund is losing $56 million annually, according to Reuters.
, nine of which have capacity for 1,800 TEUs and five 2,800 TEUs are part of the fleet managed by Claus-Peter Offen
Offen told Reuters
that owners are being asked to agree to a sale by Feb. 18, but said "We are hoping for some sort of interim solution in which the creditors and new investors would buy the ships."
Charter rates for containerships, especially smaller vessels, have plunged in recent years, especially between 2008 and 2009, according to the Hamburg Shipbrokers' Association.
It said, for example, the average daily per-slot charter cost on a geared 1,000-1,260 TEU ship has fallen from an average of $12.24 per day per TEU in 2008 to an average of $4.96 in December (assuming capacity based on 14 tons per TEU). - Chris Dupin