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New vessels delivered are “flooding” the oceans

Thursday, 29 December 2011 | 00:00
As expected 2011 has been the year that newbuilding deliveries peaked and kept "flooding" the market, thus supressing freight rates and eroding any chance of recovery for the shipping sector. In its latest weekly report, shipbroker Intermodal said that in the dry bulk sector "we witnessed a formidable fleet growth level this year as the excess in new orders placed over the past couple of years entered into service. At the time of writing new deliveries had reached 1,094 vessels (equivalent to 94.65 million DWT) which is a new record passing the previous set in 2010 by 174 vessels. At the same time scrapping was also excessive, as we saw 388 vessels head for the breakers’ yards during the year. This is significantly higher than the 262 bulkers scrapped last year, while in deadweight terms it’s more than double what we saw in 2009 and 2010 put together. Despite this, year-on-year fleet growth managed to reach around 12%" said Intermodal.
Similarly in the tanker sector, as Intermodal’s George Eliades mentioned, “things seemed more manageable, as we witnessed a more moderate growth rate this year which is set to reach close to 4%. Having said that however, it is important to note that most of the vessels scrapped were smaller tankers, while in terms of deliveries we witnessed 63 VLCCs hit the water. This averages to just over 5 vessels every month. Being a sector which has already been plagued by an oversupply of vessels, this increase in tonnage, consequently put further downward pressure on the market. Indication of this was not only witnessed in the freight market but was also seen in the demolition market these past months were we saw relatively young double hull VLCCs head for the breakers’ yards” said Eliades.
In a separate report last week, DVB Bank had said that the crude oil tanker fleet, despite the number of mass deliveries, the current orderbook still represents over 18% of the fleet in deadweight terms. An additional problem is that most of the fleet is young, with 70% estimated to be less than 10 years old, while less than 4% is more than 20 years old. This poses a serious issue, as it’s quite hard for a ship owner to scrap a vessel of just 15 years old, thus rendering the option of scrapping to alleviate oversupply problems as impossible to look at. In total, during 2011, DVB estimated that 172 vessels came in the market, resulting in a net increase of 94 vessels, as 35 vessels were converted and others were scrapped altogether. According to DVB, it is essential that scrapping of double hull vessels is increased significantly and that all vessels older than 15 years should be considered as plausible scrapping candidates.
What’s even more scary is that on top of the 186 vessels delivered in 2010 and the 172 vessels delivered so far in 2011, a further 324 tankers of 62.9 mio dwt are scheduled for delivery before the end of 2013. “Given the current market fundamentals for the Crude Oil Tankers, even if we factor a 25% discount on the Orderbook due to slippage, postponements and cancellations due to financing difficulties, refund guarantees, etc Newbuilds entering the fleet by the end of 2013 will still represent a 12.8% increase over the current fleet in dwt terms (243 vessels of approximately 47.2 mio dwt)” concluded DVB.
Continuing on the Container and Gas sectors, Intermodal said that “we witnessed a more moderate growth in fleet size this year, mainly due to the modest newbuilding ordering that took place since the start of the financial crisis in late 2008. Nevertheless, it was only the Gas carrier sector that was able to maintain a more bullish atmosphere in the chartering market, largely thanks to the still increasing demand for cleaner energy sources. The Containers which are still heavily dependent on end consumers in Europe and America have had to deal with a moderately decreasing demand especially on the long-haul routes.
While this year has seen a significant number of both deliveries and scrapping take place, 2012 is set to be another record breaking year. We have an extraordinary number of vessels scheduled for delivery while demand for further tonnage is not expected to increase as rapidly. In essence and in spite of the recent stall in increasing demo prices, scrapping is expected to be considerable as the newly delivered tonnage take preference amongst the relatively few charterer inquiries, pushing older vessels to head to head for scrapping sooner then would be expected” concluded the shipbroker.
Nikos Roussanoglou, Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide
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