Lloyd's List Intelligence data

Containership fleet expansion boosted

by Port News Editorial Staff

Encouraged by last year’s excellent results, many shipping companies have decided to step up their fleet renewal programme.

According to the figures provided by Lloyd’s List Intelligence, the container fleet’s aggregate capacity totaled 23.1 million TEUs at the end of January, 64,000 TEUs more than in December.

Overall, shipping companies operating in the container transport sector have an orderbook of 2.4 million TEUs, 10.4% of the total current fleet. Apparently, shipping lines have ordered 314 new vessels this year, including 19 containerships with a capacity of over 18,000 TEUs, 26 between 14 and 18,000 TEUs, totaling 1.6 million TEUs. In 2022 orders for 76 ships and almost 800,000 TEUs have been planned.

This would be a substantial increase in capacity, but it must be set against current market dynamics. 2020 was financially the worst year since the 2008-2009 subprime crisis. Despite this, containerized cargo volumes fell by only 1.2%.

The latest economic results and forecasts recently provided by the big carriers make it highly unlikely that there will be any further significant slowdown in demand in the near future. It is no coincidence that carriers have already used up almost all the ships at their disposal. To date, container ships still laid up represent 1.4% of the total fleet.

If these are the figures, we should not be surprised that shipping companies are once more turning to shipyards to create new capacity.

Translation by Giles Foster

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