Containerships Strom2

As any gains from this month’s FAK rate increases disappear and rates fall, major container lines are still considering adding more tonnage to an already over-supplied market.

According to Alphaliner, ONE is mulling an order for a series of 15,000 teu containerships, HMM is said to be considering a series of 16,000 teu vessels, but is holding off while the sale of a majority shareholding is completed, and Yang Ming and CMA CGM are poised to order 9,000 teu vessels.

If these orders are firmed, they will at least continue a trend of liners apparently backing away from ordering more 22,000-24,000 teu+ behemoths.

In conversation with The Loadstar recently, Xeneta chief analyst Peter Sand said the “majority” of recent new containership orders were in the “more flexible” 12,000 and 16,000 teu bracket.

Even Evergreen, the carrier perhaps most committed to the ‘bigger-is-better’ philosophy, downsized when it placed an order for 24 methanol-fuelled 16,000 teu containerships last month.

According to Alphaliner, the number of new vessels Yang Ming is considering is unclear, but the analyst believes CMA CGM may have struck a preliminary deal with China State Shipbuilding Corp for eight, and seems likely to opt for methanol rather than LNG, given the 24 methanol dual-fuel vessels it already has on order.

More orders in an already over-supplied market and with more giant box ships scheduled for delivery, carrier giants risk a systemic overcapacity problem, a repeat of the phenomenon seen after the 2008 financial crash. And the tendency for ordering vessels powered by methanol implies large capacity reductions, via scrapping, could be on the way.

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