Ocean carriers and charter shipowners canceled 140 container ship orders since the global financial crisis erupted in September 2008.
The canceled ships, with a combined capacity of 436,000 20-foot equivalent units, represent 6.7 percent of the 6.51 million-TEU order book on Oct. 1, 2008, according to Alphaliner, the Paris-based consultancy.
This is lower than the cancellation rate for bulk carriers and tankers, Alphaliner said.
The canceled orders include 27 container ships that were converted into other vessel types by their owners. The remainder of the axed vessels were outright cancellations or orders that have been delayed so long that they are believed to have been dropped, especially in cases where shipyards faced difficulties in meeting contractual deadlines and allowed owners to get out of their commitments.
The cancellations do not include vessels which have been built but not delivered because their owners have been unable to make full payments.
Ships of 1,000 TEUs to 1,999 TEUs account for the biggest share of cancellations with 54 contracts torn up. Eleven ships above 7,500 TEUs and six of 5,100 TEUs to 7,499 TEUs also have been canceled.
The list of canceled ships is likely to grow as discussions between shipyards and owners continue.
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