Global Fleet Growth Slows Down

Despite an uneven picture across shipping markets in terms of performance and earnings, the volume of capacity entering the fleet seems to have evened out, according to Clarksons.

Shipyard output looks fairly steady, with the 6-month moving average of deliveries averaging around 7-8m dwt per month for about a year and half now.

“As a result fleet growth has slowed from the c.9% level seen in 2010-11, and today the projection is for a fairly steady rate of growth in total cargo fleet capacity, with expected expansion of 3.5% this year and 4.1% in 2016,” Clarksons said.

The shipbroker believes that this is good news for the market as moderate supply side growth at least should not make the underlying market surplus any worse.

The capacity growth is expected to remain moderately steady across 2015 and 2016, however, the rate of capacity growth is highly uneven across sectors, and can be split into three categories.

 In the fast lane there are those sectors where fleet growth is expected to speed up in 2016. LPG carrier capacity growth already looks rapid (VLGC capacity is projected to grow by 18% this year) and will accelerate again next year. Crude tanker fleet growth will also speed up (VLCC capacity is projected to expand by 6% in 2015), Clarksons said.

Capesize bulker fleet growth will ramp up to 5% in 2016, and after a few years of shrinkage the 1-3,000 TEU boxship sector will at last see some (much needed) expansion (1%).

Supply growth in other sectors looks set to remain relatively steady in 2016 compared to 2015, but there are also a number of sectors where it is projected to slow in 2016.

“LNG carrier and Handy bulker supply growth will start to recede. Notably, expansion in the large (8,000+ TEU) boxship sector will begin to slow (20% in 2015 to 13% in 2016) whilst the medium-sized boxship fleet will staunchly continue to decline (by 2% in 2016),” Clarksons added.

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