Monday, 29 October 2012

Container shipping heading for record deliveries, imbalances

Braemar Seascope, one of the largest chartering, sale and purchase shipbroking firms in the world, says in its latest Quarterly Container Ship Fleet Statistics, that 2013 boxship deliveriers will exceed the record set in 2008- 1.7 m TEU will be delivered next year, a staggering 9.5% growth YOY.

Reports by another well-known name in the industry indicate that container shipping is in danger of being subject to a double whammy: record deliveries coupled with supply imbalances, thanks to the phenomenal growth of the 8000+ TEU fleet.

Clarkson’s, another leading industry player, says in a concurrent report that the trade will continue to suffer growing supply imbalances, explaining that the huge 260% expansion of the container fleet this century has been marked with uneven growth across size sectors, with the largest ships showing massive growth. From 2000, when there were just 10 VLCSs in the world- less than 0.1m TEU total- there are now 454 VLCSs around with a combined capacity of 4.5m TEU. Another 218 are on order and will raise global boxship capacity by half when delivered. “In comparison, the sub-3,000 TEU fleet has grown by just (!) 66% in capacity over the same period, and has in fact been shrinking since March 2009,” a report says.

Braemar, too, confirms the trend, reporting that 48 ultra large boxships- 10000 TEU or more- will be delivered in 2013. Moreover, the period of 2011-2014 will see annual deliveries of these averaging a staggering 50 units per year.  

Breaking up statistics, Clarkson’s reports that ownership of container ships is split evenly between operators and charter owners at present, but this too is skewed across size sectors. Operators currently own 62% of the VLCS fleet; however, they account for 74% of the VLCS capacity on order.

“The current delivery schedule suggests fleet growth is likely to slow significantly from 2014, with just 1.4m TEU scheduled to be delivered after next year. However, this growth will continue to be heavily concentrated in the larger sizes - 73% of current orderbook capacity is on vessels over 8,000 TEU. The sub-3,000 TEU orderbook has fallen to historically low levels - less than 0.2m TEU - equivalent to just 4.7% of fleet capacity in this size range. As such, although there are a number of emerging supply imbalances, the dominance of VLCSs in the pattern of fleet growth may prove the most significant in the medium-term,” Clarkson’s says.

Braemar’s container analyst Jonathan Roach feels that demolition will offset some capacity increases. “Supply growth this year has been actively countered with plenty of cellular demolition,” he says.  “During the first three quarters of 2012, containership demolition reached in excess of 220,000 TEU and we estimate by the end of the year the TEU capacity scrapped will reach the 300,000 TEU level. This represents the equivalent of approximately two per cent of the 1stJanuary 2012 fleet. Historically, the biggest year for cellular scrapping was 2009, with 370,000 TEU was sent for recycling.”

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