Amid a rapid growth in the mega boxship fleet, and nearly a year on from the opening of the new expanded locks of the Panama Canal in June 2016, the fleet of giants surged by 29% y-o-y in TEU terms, Clarkson Research informs.
The 15,000+ TEU mega boxship fleet has expanded rapidly in recent years and at the beginning of May it stood at 76 ships of 1.4 million TEU.
Deployed solely on the Asia-Europe route, and representing 36% of capacity on the route at the start of May, up from 27% a year earlier, growth in the 15,000+ TEU fleet has caused cascading of smaller, but still relatively large, containerships off this trade.
The rising proportion of 8-12,000 TEU vessel capacity deployed on the Transpacific is owed in part to the displacement of these units from the Far East-Europe route and new deployment opportunities on Asia-US East Coast routes via the new expanded locks at the Panama Canal.
In May 2017, 8-12,000 TEU ships accounted for 54% of deployed capacity on the Transpacific trade, whereas the 3-8,000 TEU sector, including old Panamax ships, accounted for 32%. This compares to 52% and 40% respectively one year earlier.
From around mid-2016, the cascade of larger units onto Transpacific routes has also been supported by firm trade growth.
“The ongoing delivery of mega boxships, trade growth and infrastructure capability are all important drivers of deployment. These factors are shifting all the time, and to keep track of vessel sector trends market watchers must still keep a close eye on cascading,” Clarksons said.