Global container fleet rises 5.6% to 32.9 million TEU
The world’s container fleet rose 5.3 percent, or 1.6 million TEU, to reach 32.9 million TEU in 2012, according to Drewry Maritime Research’s latest Container Census.
However, the rise was smaller than that of the previous two years, although less eractic than 2011 or 2010 said the London-based shipping consultants.
“Growth in 2012 was dented by the stubborn presence of more than 500,000 TEU of newbuild equipment awaiting collection from factories,” commented Andrew Foxcroft, editor of Drewry’s Container Census.
“As a result, the average monthly rate of new container pick-up was lower than in 2011, even though the surplus never rose as high as the 900,000 TEU averaged throughout the middle part of 2011.”
Dry freight prices also rose sharply during the opening half of 2012, before falling back by the fourth quarter to much the same level as the previous year. However, the peak of 2012 was not as high as what had occurred earlier in 2010-11, so there was less price variation for the year overall.
The present outlook suggests that there may be still less price fluctuation during 2013, while container uptake, and fleet growth, is expected to stay relatively weak.
Drewry said that the key issue is that the existing newbuild stockpile, which did not change much in 2012, has risen again in early 2013, topping one million TEU by the second quarter. This is even higher than in 2011, and is already choking off demand. The annualised price level is also forecast to fall further in 2013, possibly to US$2,400 per CEU (Capital Equivalent Unit – a cost measure per TEU), which would be its lowest point since 2008-09. By comparison, this price measurement attained its highest level, of $2,700, in 2011 and averaged $2,500 for 2012. End-year pricing, however, is forecast to hold steady as it is expected to stay in the $2,300-2,350 range.
Drewry expects, as with 2012, 1.6 million TEU to be added to the global container fleet in 2013. In 2012, the delivery rate was more evenly balanced through the year, while a greater share went to cover replacement than in either 2011 or 2010. The same is being forecast for 2013.