As containership deliveries dropped from the record 1.7 million TEU in 2015 to just 0.9 million TEU in 2016, the boxship sector could enter a new era of less robust fleet growth if deliveries remain at moderate levels, Clarksons Research said.
The slowdown in boxship deliveries in 2016, alongside record levels of demolition, led to fleet growth of just 1.2% during the year, down from 8.1% in 2015. The volume of containership capacity delivered in 2016 was the lowest since 2004 and dropped by 46% y-o-y to 127 vessels of 903,662 TEU.
Deliveries in 2016 were concentrated in the larger sizes, with 89% of delivered capacity accounted for by the 8,000+ TEU sector, the highest level on record. However, delivered capacity in the 8-12,000 TEU sector declined 53% y-o-y, while deliveries in the 15,000+ sector dropped by 50%.
In the sub-8,000 TEU sector, deliveries declined 52% y-o-y to just 102,536 TEU in 2016, reflecting limited ordering in this size range in recent years, and overall in 2016 the sub-8,000 TEU fleet declined by 4.8% in terms of capacity.
Clarksons Research said that current projections suggest that deliveries in 2017 may accelerate from 2016 levels, boosted by the surge in mega boxship contracting in 2015. Deliveries in the 15,000+ sector in 2017 are expected to be fairly similar to 2015 levels, which is likely to present continued challenges to operators managing capacity on the mainlanes.
However, overall delivered capacity is projected to remain below the 2015 level, with very limited deliveries projected in the mid-size sectors. Deliveries into the smaller sectors are projected to rise y-o-y, although remain at a historically subdued level. In 2018, total boxship deliveries are projected to remain relatively steady y-o-y, Clarksons Research said.