Although the container shipping market remains fundamentally imbalanced, the new year brings with it fresh hopes for a recovery, according to Alphaliner.
2016 saw a number of records, most of them marking new lows for a container shipping market that continues to suffer from excess capacity, with the weakness expected to persist for at least one more year.
The global containership fleet recorded the lowest annual growth rate ever in the industry’s history as it increased by only 1.5% to reach 20.27 million TEU at the end of 2016, Alphaliner informed.
Growth was kept low by the a record number of ships scrapped, with a total of 192 containership for 654,900 TEU demolished in 2016. The total capacity of containerships deleted reached 200 units for 664,300 TEU after adding a handful of de-celled ships and two casualties.
New containership deliveries fell to 934,500 TEU in 2016, down 46% compared the year before. Very weak employment prospects prompted owners to delay the deliveries of some 60 ships with a total capacity of 400,000 TEU, while 18 ships with a total capacity of 57,000 TEU are believed to have been cancelled.
Despite the low supply growth, the idle containership fleet surged to a record high of 1.59 million TEU in October before ending the year at 1.42 million TEU.
“The surplus capacity overhang remains the industry’s biggest headache, especially with some 1.7 million TEU of new capacity due in 2017,” Alphaliner said.