Container ship deliveries will hit an all-time high in 2013 even as shipowners and ocean carriers defer the arrival of some of their vessels on order, according to industry analyst Alphaliner.
Around 200,000 20-foot-equivalent units of capacity originally scheduled for 2013 have been pushed back to 2014, and more deferrals are expected in the coming months. The number of ships of more than 10,000 TEUs set for delivery this year has been reduced to 41 units.
Still, the capacity scheduled for delivery in 2013 stood at 1.68 million TEUs on March 1, just above the historical high of 1.57 million TEUs in 2008, and equivalent to 10.3 percent of the world fleet as of January, according to Alphaliner’s figures.
Even assuming an additional 100,000 TEUs could be deferred in the coming months, total new vessel deliveries will still be significantly higher than during the previous four years, raising fresh fears that the oversupply in container ship market could persist beyond 2014.
Deteriorating market conditions also have prompted a surge in the scrapping of older tonnage, with 37 ships of 80,000 TEUs delivered for demolition or de-celled in the first two months of the year, and a further 20,000 TEUs already committed to the breakers’ yards in March.
Alphaliner expects full year deletions from the fleet to top 400,000 TEUs in 2013, if the current rate of scrapping continues the highest level of container ship demolitions.
After adjusting for 100,000 TEUs of additional slippage in deliveries and 400,000 TEUs of scrapping, the container fleet will expand by a net 7 percent in 2013, outpacing expected demand growth of only 4 to 6 percent.
The deferral of new ship deliveries from 2013 to 2014 has raised capacity additions next year to 7 percent net of forecast scrapping.