Carriers still need another 400,000 teu to maintain services

   Release date: 13/03/2024     Hits: 7498    Comment: 0    
Note: Nearly 200,000 teu of newbuild containership capacity was delivered in February, following a record 300,000 teu received

Nearly 200,000 teu of newbuild containership capacity was delivered in February, following a record 300,000 teu received the month before – the new tonnage being comfortably soaked up by Red Sea diversions around Africa.

However, if and when a safe passage can be guaranteed and ships can again transit the Red Sea to the Suez Canal without fear of attack, ocean carriers will need to manage a chronic oversupply situation, as at least another 2.5 million teu is slated still to be delivered this year.

“The current situation for NOOs (non-operating containership owners) could change significantly once ships are again able to trade through the Suez Canal, with overcapacity expected to make its comeback,” said Alphaliner.

But in the current situation, it is claimed that carriers still need another 400,000 teu to plug the gaps in their temporary networks, due to the longer voyage times around the Cape of Good Hope.

Last month’s deliveries included the 24,188 teu OOCL Abu Dhabi and six vessels of over 15,000 teu, but there were also six of between 5,500 teu and 7,800 teu that went into service alongside nine feeder vessels of between 1,054 teu and 3,055 teu, which will help ease an acute shortage in those sectors.

According to container shipping market analyst Linerlytica, the Red Sea crisis has absorbed over 1.2m teu of capacity so far, but more ships are needed.

It said: “The increased demand for tonnage has fully absorbed all the new capacity delivered in the last five months, with additional requirements for another 400,000 teu of incremental capacity still to be fulfilled.”

In the interim, container lines’ brokers are still scouring the charter market for any forthcoming open tonnage in order to cover those commitments.

London-based shipbroker Braemar reported it had “witnessed robust activity across all sectors throughout the quarter”, against a background of “strong demand and a dwindling pool of available tonnage”.

Copenhagen-headquartered MB Shipbrokers added that “tonnage availability remains tight across the board”, and added: “Owners have started to push for longer periods, or indeed pushing for their vessels to be extended out of forward [summer] positions.”

Another broker contact in London told The Loadstar that any containership coming open in the morning could be fixed by the afternoon, particularly if it was modern eco-tonnage.

“Young eco ships are red hot at the moment and our owners are pushing for higher rates and periods in excess of 12 months,” said the broker.

Elsewhere, while Alphaliner reported that the demand for large tonnage was “showing no sign of easing” it described the hitherto slow smaller size vessel charter market as “frantic”.

“Fast-expanding SeaLead was one of the busiest market players, fixing seven vessels of 1,700 to 1,800 teu,” said the consultant.

Indeed, the privately-owned Singapore-headquartered carrier has expanded from a one-vessel operation when it was founded in 2017 to a fleet of 34 ships, with a capacity of 136,000 teu, ranking it 18th in Alphaliner’s liner capacity league table.

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