Containership deliveries reach record 1 million TEU

BIMCO reports record containership deliveries

According to the Baltic and International Maritime Council (BIMCO), over 1 million TEU in containerships were delivered in the first four months of the year, indicating an almost 80 per cent rise from the previous record.

As ship recycling has only retired 19 smaller ships, the fleet has grown by approximately 1 million TEU, a 3.5 per cent rise since the beginning of the year. This adds to the previous year’s 8.2 per cent fleet growth rate.

Niels Rasmussen, Chief Shipping Analyst at BIMCO, said: “Due to record deliveries the order book has declined. However, as 1.8 million TEU has been contracted during 2023 and 2024, it has only declined by 1 million TEU and now stands at 6.1 million TEU, 21 per cent of the current fleet size.

“As a result, the order book’s share of the fleet is more than twice the size than it was before the COVID-19 pandemic and liner operators’ contracting spree began.”

READ: BIMCO releases ship financing forms

The order book reportedly comprises 2 million TEU for delivery in 2024, with delivery volumes expected to surpass 3 million TEU, 30 per cent more than the previous year’s record.

Deliveries in 2025 are expected to be slightly less than 2 million TEU, the third highest total in a single year, after only 2023 and 2024.

Despite this, deliveries remain much lower than the fleet’s size. In 2024, BIMCO predicts deliveries to reach 11 per cent of fleet capacity at the start of the year. The most recent record was set in 2008 when deliveries accounted for 14 per cent of the fleet.

The record high ship deliveries were predicted to result in severe excess in the market, and although this did have an impact on the market in 2023, it looks like deliveries this year are helping to keep global container traffic flowing.

READ: BIMCO reveals halved traffic through Red Sea

Due to the rerouting of ships via the Cape of Good Hope following Houthi attacks in the Red Sea, approximately 10 per cent extra capacity is required to conduct global container commerce. The capacity needed to manage any market expansion should be increased to 10 per cent.

“When ships start increasing sailings via the Red Sea and the Suez Canal, we will most likely see significant oversupply. Between 2019 and 2023, the fleet grew 21 per cent while container volumes only grew 4 per cent. Between 2023 and 2025, the fleet is expected to grow another 15 per cent,” added Rasmussen.

In April, the International Bunker Industry Association (IBIA) and BIMCO signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to collaborate on pressing issues and opportunities in the bunker, marine energy, and maritime sectors.

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