The growth of the world’s container fleet almost stalled during the past few weeks as ships are sent to the scrap yards in droves while deliveries of new ships are slowing, according to Alphaliner, the Paris-based consultant and information company.
During the month of July, the total capacity of the container ships deployed on liner services increased by only 10,000 TEUS, according to Alphaliner records.
That’s the lowest month-to-month figure recorded since Alphaliner started tracking the growth of the global liner fleet 10 years ago, it said in its latest newsletter.
The cellular fleet itself increased by only 20,000 TEUs in July, with completion of 15 cellular ships totaling 73,600 TEUs, while 34 container ships with a capacity totaling 54,000 TEUs were sent to the scrappers during the month.
In addition, multipurpose vessels, which can carry both containers and breakbulk cargos, which were converted to carrying containers during the boom of the last few years, are leaving the container trades either to be redeployed as tramps or to be scrapped.
Orders for new containerships have fallen to a level equivalent to 41 percent of the existing fleet and stand now at 5.26 million TEUs, according to Alphaliner figures,
Alphaliner estimates that the growth of the global container fleet capacity will slow to 9.1 percent in 2009 from the growth rate of 13.2 percent in 2008.
Based on the number of new containerships on order, it estimates that the growth rate will speed up to 13 percent in 2010, but this could change as more ships are scrapped and orders canceled or postponed.
Contact Peter T. Leach at email@example.com.