The container shipping fleet has grown by 1.6% since the start of the year, reaching a total capacity of 23.2 million TEU. BIMCO expects that, over the whole year, the fleet will expand by 2.1%, which will mark a four-year low.
The association expects a total of 300,000 TEU to be demolished this year, so far this year 169,647 TEU have been demolished. The reopening of demolition yards on the Indian subcontinent, and the poor conditions in the container shipping charter market, saw owners pushed to getting rid of some of their older and substandard ships between June and August.
The youngest container ship to have been demolished this year was 15 years old. These newly demolished ships include some of the largest container ships ever to be demolished. At 9,600 TEU, the Sine Maersk (built 1998) is the largest container ship ever to be demolished.
“Though these used to be among the largest container ships sailing, they are now far outclassed by the latest deliveries, and given the cascading that has resulted in ever-larger ships on smaller trades, it has proven unattractive to keep these ships trading, even on the smaller trades,” BIMCO said.
So far this year, four ships above 6,000 TEU have been demolished. The pandemic has also greatly dampened the appetite for new ships; in the first eight months of this year, contracting activity has been 33.5% lower than last year, as only 162,834 TEU has been ordered.
This, combined with a normal pace of deliveries, has sent the container shipping orderbook to its lowest level since September 2003.
The share of the orderbook made up by Ultra Large Container Ships (ULCS 15,000+ TEU) has fallen below 50% (at 47.4%), as five new ULCS (all 23,000 TEU) have been ordered, while 13 have been delivered totalling 301,724 TEU. There are 927,296 TEU of ULCS on order as per early September.
Source: Offshore Energy