According to Braemar Seascope's latest Containership Fleet Statistics, 2012 looks set to be the biggest year for containership newbuilding deliveries in history, in terms of TEU capacity entering the cellular fleet.
Boxship deliveries from world shipyards in 2012 are expected to reach 1.55 million TEU - beating the previous record of 1.52 million TEU achieved during 2007. Braemar Seascope expects a cellular fleet expansion in the region of 9.5% for 2012, increasing the available capacity to 16.8 million TEU.
Of the 230 ships due for delivery from shipbuilders next year, 59 have a nominal container capacity of 10,000 TEU or more. This will introduce an additional 0.8 million TEU to this segment. Fleet growth for the 10,000 TEU plus size bracket is expected to reach 70% year on year for 2011 and a further 57% in 2012. Bearing in mind that the vast majority of ultra-large containerships are currently deployed on Asia - Europe services, next year's delivery influx would be sufficient tonnage to create another five loops deploying ten x 13,000 TEU vessels.
For vessels up to and including 5,100 TEU capacity, it is a very different story: the lower level of investment in newbuilding projects is apparent as growth is expected to reach only 2.9% this year before hitting 3.0% in 2012.
Since January 2010, owners have ordered 1.7 million TEU capacity of boxships with a capacity of 5,100 TEU or more compared with 0.4m TEU of smaller ships (below 5,100 TEU).
Containerships of 10,000 TEU or more comprise 49% of the global orderbook by capacity whereas containerships up to 5,100 TEU represent only 20% of the global orderbook. Since the KG market has largely exited the newbuilding arena, investment in smaller containerships has been lackluster However, Braemar expects renewed interested in feedermax tonnage once the current cycle of investment in post panamax ships has waned.