The collapse of Germany’s KG ship finance system has not dampened orders for new container ships, as funding remains widely available, according to industry analyst Alphaliner.
Carriers can still tap a variety of funding sources, including fresh equity, loans and an increasing number of bonds.
Shipowners have placed firm orders for 445 new container ships with a total capacity of 3.02 million 20-foot equivalent units, representing 18.4 percent of the existing fleet, since the global financial crisis erupted in September 2008.
While new container ship orders between 2009 and February 2013 are only half the number of the contracts seen during the boom of 2006 to 2008, they are adding to an already oversupplied market with 5 percent of the fleet without work, Alphaliner notes.
Carriers have increased their share of newbuilding capacity to 58 percent in the in the post-crisis period, with charter owners making up the remainder, up from 49 percent during the 2006-2008 boom.
At the same time German KG shipowners’ share of new capacity on order has slumped to only 2 percent from 26 percent.
In their place, various non-operating owners (NOOs), backed by public and private equity, have taken over the role of the German KGs.
These NOOs have boosted their share of newbuilding capacity to 40 percent from 25 percent, as traditional owners such as Costamare, Zodiac and Seaspan are joined by new entrants, including Greek and Chinese companies and other private equity interests.
The German KG system, which financed around a third of the world’s container ships, mostly with funds from thousands of private investors, is facing a major crisis following a slump in charter rates and growing lay-ups. More than 150 single-ship funds have filed for bankruptcy in the past year, and a further 500 to 1,000 risk insolvency according to some estimates.