The decision by Maersk Line not to exercise an option to order another 10 mega-containerships with capacities of 18,000 20-foot equivalent units was no surprise considering overcapacity on the Asia-Europe trade, said a container shipping analyst.
“That had been implied quite a while ago,” said Martin Dixon, editor of Drewry’s Container Freight Rate Insight. “There’s too much capacity, and demand on the Asia-Europe trade where those vessels would have been deployed is slowing.”
Maersk Line ordered 10 Triple-E ships a year ago this month from South Korea’s Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering. The world’s largest container line also had an option to order another 20 of the ships, and later exercised its option to order 10 of them.
If Maersk had exercised its option to order the last 10 of the 30 so-called Triple-E ships, those ships would have been delivered around 2015.
Dixon said there are reports that other lines looking to hold back orders going into 2013. “Demand is unlikely to be strong on that trade in the two years ahead,” he said.
When Maersk announced on Feb. 17 that it would reduce capacity on the Asia-Europe trade by 9 percent, Maersk said it would “not declare” its option for the last 10 Triple-E ships. Maersk also said it will consider additional opportunities to reduce capacity, including redelivery of time charter tonnage, the use of lay-ups and slow-steaming.