SHIPBROKER BRS REPORTS JUMP IN CONTAINERSHIP ORDERS, FLEET
The worldwide fleet of cellular containerships increased by 9.3 percent last year, to 2,755 cellular ships aggregating 4.9 million TEUs, with larger containerships increasingly dominating the market, according to statistics compiled by Barry Rogliano Salles, the French shipbroker.
The broker said that the 9.3 percent year-on-year fleet capacity growth in 2000 compared with an increase of only 5.1 percent in 1999 and with 10 to 15 percent annual rises registered in the years 1995-1998.
Last year’s annual capacity growth of the global cellular fleet showed major disparities between vessel size ranges. Ships of more than 5,000-TEU capacity registering a 48-percent annual jump in capacity, whereas the fleet of vessels of 100 to 500 TEUs gained only 0.4 percent in capacity last year.
“The orderbook rose strongly during 2000, with further commitments for 6,000+ TEU ships and a wave of orders for Panamax tonnage and for 2,500-TEU ships,” Barry Rogliano Salles said. As of Dec. 31, 2000, there were 306 cellular ships on order, representing 1.05 million TEUs. Of the 1-million-TEU global vessel orderbook, about 692,000 TEUs, or 66 percent, was for ships of 4,000 TEUs or more.
“Very Large Container Ships (VLCS) of 9,000 TEU and more are now viewed as a serious option,” the shipbroker said. “Maersk Sealand appears as the leading line with such ships, possibly around 12,000 TEU. P&O Nedlloyd plans to order 10,000 TEU ships. China Shipping Group is considering 9,000 TEU ships. Other leading operators are also studying the possibility to invest in 8,000/10,000 TEU ships,” it added.
With a large number of vessel orders secured, most shipyards are fully booked until early 2003, and even until the end of 2003 for some of them, according to Barry Rogliano Salles. “One must go back to 1972-1973 to find such a healthy orderbook, although it was at that time heavily dominated by Very Large/Ultra Large Crude Carriers and the bubble burst out in the wake of the October 1973 oil crash.”
The shipbroker said that the current orderbook is better balanced as it consists of a large variety of ship types.
Barry Rogliano Salles said that “there is little worry” about overcapacity on the container ship market in the medium term. “However, the supply/demand balance will remain fragile,” it warned.