The total capacity of the world’s cellular containership fleet has passed the 23 million TEU mark following the delivery of two more Pegasus class vessels to MSC in September, according to Alphaliner.
Handed over on September 11, the two 23,000+ TEU megamax ships joined the carrier on the 2M’s Far East – Europe network. The last million TEU milestone had been recorded in July 2018, when the global box fleet surpassed 22 million TEUs.
“Growth of the cellular fleet has remained steady at around 4% since May, with deliveries of new containerships adding 826,000 TEU to the overall fleet so far this year. In contrast, scrapping has remained low with only 165,000 teu removed from the fleet since January,” Alphaliner informed.
“A strong charter market gives owners little incentive to recycle ships, and several vessels that were initially bound for the breaking yards are now being kept in active service.”
Furthermore, Alphaliner expects the low scrapping rate to persist for the remainder of the year, lowering its full-year ship recycling estimate for 2019 from 350,000 to less than 250,000 TEU.
Current charter rates have increased 30% over the same period of last year, particularly for larger ships. In the size classes above 5,000 TEU “rates have more than doubled, compared to one year ago.”
Some of the demand increase recorded since June is related to vessel downtime from scrubber installations, Alphaliner said, adding that a total of 44 ships with a overall capacity of 465,000 TEU are currently undergoing retrofit work at various shipyards.