THE countless numbers of freight indices that have been in retreat for months have led to many analysts suggesting that the container shipping's boom period is coming to a close.

However, no one seems to have told tonnage hungry boxline operators who continue to snap up ships in high volumes and at incredible prices, reports Singapore's Splash 247.

There is a "startling" amount of secondhand containership business at the moment, according to a new report from brokers Braemar. Braemar reports in its latest weekly container shipping report on speculation that a fleet of up to six vessels all with deliveries next year sized between 2,500 and 7,000 TEU have been sold to a major Europe-based liner company.

Mediterranean Shipping Co (MSC), which has bought more than 200 secondhand ships in the last 24 months, is tipped to have bought a pair of 9,400 TEU ships, while CMA CGM has paid a firm US$75 million for a nine-year-old, Chinese built, 3,756 TEU ship called Cap Capricorn, a vessel that would have cost less than one-third of the price when brand new in 2013.Feeder ships also continue to change hands with Vietnamese interests snapping up the 14-year-old, 1,708 TEU A Roku for $30 million.

"All deals mentioned are transactions at still astonishingly high levels, so for all the talk of freight rates falling, interest rates rising and life generally about to become more difficult, the liner operators see something others cannot," Braemar stated, going on to suggest that with prices at these levels more sellers may appear in the coming weeks.