According to Drewry Maritime Research records, at the beginning of July just over 64 per cent of all vessel capacity ordered since the middle of 2011 has been placed by tramp vessel operators, and the proportion since the middle of 2012 is up to 65 per cent.
This builds on a trend from 2004, when the proportion of the fleets of the top 20 carriers that was chartered reached 48 per cent, and then creased to 53 per cent in 2011. The more recent position of the top 10 in isolation shows a different picture, with ownership actually increasing between 3Q 2011 and 1H 2013.
Assuming that not all carriers renew their lease agreements on expiry, this means that there will be a growing pool of large container vessels for hire, opening up opportunities for new market entrants should the right circumstances arise.
The same trend applies to container equipment ownership, where leasing has also been growing in importance. According to Drewry's latest Container Lease Industry Review 2013, lessors purchased 58 per cent of all newbuild containers last year and acquired substantial older equipment from ocean carriers through sale and lease back, enabling them to grow their market share from 42.8 per cent in 2011 to 45 per cent in 2012.
As ocean carriers' financial results are not expected to improve significantly before 2016, leasing is expected to continue to grow, as well as the pool of large containerships available for charter.