Drewry Shipping Consultants forecast another year of excess growth in relation to demand in 2015 for container shipping as the industry continues to experience more ship-deliveries with no signs of a slow-down.
There have been around 40 ultra-large container vessels (ULCVs) ordered since January, 2015, with orders coming from CMA CGM as well as OOCL’s record-breaking order of six 21,000 TEU ships, mainly for 2017 delivery.
This does not include any provision for Maersk and Cosco orders yet to be finalised.
Drewry believes that new orders for ULCVs of at least 18,000 TEU are pushing back the date when supply and demand are expected to meet.
Neil Dekker, Director of Container Research at Drewry, said: “The industry paid a heavy price for the huge ordering it undertook in 2006/07 and it seems that four years after Maersk spent US$3.8 billion on its Triple Es, history is repeating and many lines are entering or are about to enter this now not so exclusive club.
“The one difference this time around is that the operational agreements should mean that not all top 20 lines will make this big step.”
Dekker added: “The decision by Maersk and MSC to downgrade the average size of ships on one of their European strings to the East Coast of South America from 9,000 TEU to 5,500 TEU may not seem particularly important in the grand scheme of things.
“But all ocean carriers have argued that deploying new and big ships across every trade route is strategically critical. This is the first sign that on routes where trade growth is weak, the lower slot cost per unit argument is simply not enough because freight rates dive to well below sub-economic levels.”
The delivery of over 60 ULCVs in 2015 with an average nominal capacity of over 15,000 TEU is expected to cause even more complex problems for trade route managers.
The issues are made worse by a slow growth in the global economy which is not helping to alleviate containership oversupply.