Leading ocean carriers are still chasing growth despite weaker markets and difficulties in securing funding for new orders, according to container industry analyst Alphaliner.
The container ship order book dropped to 22 percent of the existing fleet in September, compared with 57 percent of the existing fleet in September 2008 when the collapse of Lehman Brothers marked a critical turning point for container shipping.
Despite this, the top 21 carriers collectively added 3.5 million 20-foot-equivalent units of extra capacity during the past four years, an annualized growth of 7.2 percent, Alphaliner said.
The composition of the top carriers hasn’t changed since September 2008, although there has been some movement in relative rankings. Maersk, Mediterranean Shipping Co. and CMA CGM still occupy the top three slots, while China’s Cosco has moved up two places to No. 4. Evergreen and Hapag-Lloyd each have dropped one place to No. 5 and No. 6, respectively.
Only two carriers, Chile’s CSAV and NYK Line of Japan, reduced their fleets during the last four years, slipping from No. 17 to No. 20 and from No. 9 to No. 13 in the league table.
All other carriers boosted their capacity by between 2 percent and 19 percent annually during the four-year period.
“Carriers’ appetite for growth remains unabated,” according to Alphaliner. CMA CGM is behind a new order for ten 9,200 TEUs ships ordered in China, while CSAV is negotiating with several shipyards over an order for up to 20 ships of 9,200 TEUs and United Arab Shipping Company is weighing an order for ships of about 18,000 TEUs capacity.
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