The world container ship fleet has topped 16 million 20-foot equivalent units, but the rate of capacity growth is slowing, according to Alphaliner.
Deliveries of new container ships will hit 802,000 TEUs in the first half of 2012 with 772,000 TEUs already handed over to their owners and a further 30,000 TEUs due to leave shipyards this week, the container market analyst said.
The cellular container fleet as of June 26 totals 4,952 vessels with an aggregate capacity of 16,017,550 TEUs.
Deliveries in the first half represented 5 percent of the global fleet at the beginning of the year.
But the rate of growth is slowing, Alphaliner said. It took 12 months for the fleet to increase from 15 million TEUs to 16 million TEUs while it took only 10 months to grow from 14 million TEUs to 15 million TEUs and nine months to climb from 13 million TEUs to 14 million TEUs.
The slowing growth rate is because of increased scrapping of older tonnage, with 89 ships totaling 163,000 TEUs sent to the breakers yards so far this year, compared with 107,000 TEUs for the whole of 2011.
A further three vessels of 4,000 TEUs were lost at sea.
The higher scrapping rate, which is a fraction of new deliveries, has reduced net additions of capacity in the first six months of the year to 640,000 TEUs, or 4.2 percent of the world fleet.
Demolition is expected to slow in the second half of the year due to a 20 percent decline in scrap prices over the past month.
An additional 670,000 TEUs is due to be delivered in the second half of 2012 “posing a significant challenge for an industry that is still suffering from excess capacity.”
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