The container shipping industry will be focussed on the deployment of ultra large container vessels (ULCV) during the year as around 40 of such ships are expected to join the fleet in 2018, according to BIMCO.
53 ships larger than 13,500 TEU are scheduled for delivery, however, the number is expected to be slighty less as some owners might opt to push deliveries of their ships. In 2017, 55 ships of the same size were scheduled for delivery, but only 43 were handed over.
During 2017, owners and investors were busy in the second-hand market. The year was in fact the busiest on record as 297 ships changed hands, valued at USD 4,178 million, BIMCO cited data from VesselsValue. Panamax ships were in demand, more due to price than anything else, with 93 ships changing hands in total.
Purchasing prices were equal to the demolition values of many of the ships, meaning there was little downside risk from the purchase. Since mid-2017 both demolition prices and second-hand values have gone up.
A 2009-built, 4,275 TEU panamax ship was valued at USD 13.7 million in July 2016, USD 5.6 million in January 2017 and USD 10.9 million in January 2018. At the same time, the demolition value of the same ship was USD 4.6 million, USD 5.6 million and USD 8.1 million. Meaning that deals done at January 2017 prices were equal to demolition values.
Regarding the overall demand in the container shipping industry, BIMCO said it wxpects the demand to be lower than in 2017, but still high enough to potentially improve the fundamental market balance.
Demand is forecast to grow by 4.0-4.5% against a fleet growth of 3.9% in 2018.