Thai intra-Asia carrier Regional Container Lines (RCL) is still adding secondhand vessels to its fleet.

RCL said in filings to the Thai Stock Exchange on 25 March that it has purchased the 2005-built 2,800TEU Irenes Reliance from Tsakos Shipping & Trading for US$16.1 million as well as a ship from Singapore-registered Sindi Shipping.

Shipping databases show that Sindi Shipping, a subsidiary of South Korean ship owner Sinokor Merchant Marine, owns a 2008-built 1,708TEU feeder ship, A Roku.

RCL paid THB430.34 million (US$13.9 million) for A Roku. Sinokor had originally purchased the ship from Japanese tonnage provider Nissen Kaiun in February 2020 for US$7.4 million, meaning that the South Korean owner made a profit of nearly 88% on the sale.

RCL, whose fleet had comprised commissioned newbuildings until the company purchased the 2007-built 6,310TEU APL Norway from Japanese tonnage provider Shoei Kisen Kaisha in February, said that the purchases aim to replace chartered vessels. This is by far, the largest vessel in RCL’s fleet.

On 10 March, RCL confirmed that it had also acquired the 2006-built 5,888TEU OOCL Antwerp for THB1.03 billion (US$33.3 million) and 1996-built 1,094TEU Ratana Thida for US$2.45 million. The latter acquisition is a buyback as RCL had originally owned Ratana Thida before selling it to another Thai company on leaseback terms.

As charter rates for boxships have been firming in tandem with the freight market, several liner operators have turned to second-hand acquisitions to manage charter costs.

Brokers have also linked RCL to the 2011-built 8,586TEU Mediterranean Bridge, which Bank of Communications Leasing has reportedly sold for US$50 million, but the Thai operator has not confirmed the transaction.

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