Ocean carriers and charter owners face rising overcapacity with shipyards poised to deliver hundreds of big vessels in the next three years.
The containership order book has fallen to an eighteen month low, but ocean carriers and charter owners face rising overcapacity with shipyards poised to deliver hundreds of big vessels in the next three years. On April 1, the order book stood at 1,045 ships of 5.8 million TEUs, representing 46 percent of the existing fleet, down from a peak of 64 percent in November 2007, according to AXS Alphaliner, a Paris-based consultant.
There have been no new contracts for containerships since September 2008, marking the first time no orders have been placed for two consecutive quarters since contracts were first recorded in 1965.
Meanwhile several existing orders have been cancelled or construction suspended due to a lack of finance, while several series of vessels have been deferred.
Most of the cancelled and deferred orders are for vessels below 4,000 TEUs which account for just 13.5 percent of the existing fleet, against 70 percent for ships above 4,000 TEUs.
?Carriers are in no hurry to receive vessels at the moment, unlike the situation a year ago,? AXS Alphaliner said.? It is not clear which orders are delayed through negotiation or are delayed because the yard is asked to correct minor faults experienced during tests and sea trials in order to delay the delivery date and final payment.?
Despite the shrinking order book, 1.4 million TEUs of capacity is due for delivery between April and December, taking deliveries for the full year to 1.7 million TEUs and boosting the world fleet to 13.7 million TEUs.
Alphaliner forecasts annual average growth of 13 percent in the next three year with deliveries peaking at 1.8 million TEUs in 2010, and then falling to 1.6 million TEUs in 2011 and 800,000 TEUs in 2012.
The wave of deliveries follows an ordering binge that peaked at 3.7 million TEUs in 2007, slowed to one million TEUS in the first nine months of 2008 and then abruptly stopped.