Capacity on container trades at record high
Wednesday, 02 May 2012 | 00:00
Newbuilds and reactivated ships boost global boxfleet, putting rates back under pressure The global
containership fleet is at its largest since last August, as vessel deliveries and a reduction in the idle fleet have raised available capacity to a new record of almost 15 million teu, according to Alphaliner.
The capacity gains have outpaced the growth in demand for space, which is impacting rates and vessel utilisation, says the industry analyst in its latest report.
This could put pressure on the carriers’ aim of sustaining the general rate increases announced for 1 May.
Shipping lines have added capacity on most routes, but capacity withdrawn from the main Far East-Europe and Far East-North America trade lanes has largely been cascaded down to secondary line-haul markets, with South America (up 13%) and Africa (20%) seeing the largest percentage increases, the analyst said.Sixty-two new containerships have been delivered so far this year, representing a total capacity of 455,000teu. Of these, 23 are above 10,000teu.
This capacity increase has been partly mitigated by increased scrapping of older tonnage, with 55 ships (93,500teu) sent for demolition so far this year. Alphaliner says as much as 200,000teu could be scrapped this year, but against that is the expected delivery of around 1.4 million teu in newbuildings.
After a rise from the low of 0.5% in June 2011 to a peak of 5.8% in mid-March, the idle containership fleet is shrinking again, mostly due to larger vessels being brought back into service.
At 9 April the idle fleet stood at 723,000teu, and it is expected to fall further in the second quarter as most of the ships of above 5,000teu are expected to be reactivated by summer.
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