MARKET REVERSAL PUTS OCEAN CARRIERS OFF ORDERING LARGER SHIPS
The rapid deterioration of the container shipping market is putting off ocean carriers from moving to the next phase of very large containerships, senior shipping executives told an industry conference in Hamburg.
Hans Payer, executive at the German classification society Germanischer Lloyd, told the International Symposium on Liner Shipping that several carriers and shipyards have considered building 12,000-TEU ships, going beyond the current limit of about 8,000 TEUs.
“It is just the present crisis which postpones ordering ships of that size (of 12,000 TEUs),” Payer said.
China Shipping Container Line has also shelved its plan to build the container shipping industry’s first 9,500-TEU containerships, industry executives told American Shipper.
Nikolaus Schues, chairman and owner of Hamburg-based charter owner Laeiszt and president of the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce, told the conference that two 7,500-TEU containerships ordered by Hapag-Lloyd will be delivered this fall, and “further increases in sizes are already under discussion.” Schues cited studies about 12,000 or 18,000-TEU boxships.
“The question of whether such mega-carriers will be built, and whether this is necessary, cannot seriously be answered at the moment,” he said. “Larger ships may be more economical than smaller ones, presuming they are sufficiently well filled, but they will cause higher costs for the on-carriage and delivery of the boxes in the ports.”
Peter Dietrich, head of the German port operator HHLA, criticized “the fallacy of scale” in container shipping.
“He who stands up in the cinema hall sees better,” Dietrich told the Hamburg conference. “But if everyone stands up, then only the very tall ones enjoy the movie!”