Global Containership Fleet Hits 16 Million TEU Mark

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June 26, 2012

In May, US-listed Danaos Corporation (NYSE: DAC) took delivery of the HYUNDAI SMART, one of four 13,100 teu newbuilds already delivered to the company in 2012. The company expects another 13,100 teu ship to be delivered by the end of June, completing company’s newbuild program. Photo: Port of Hamburg

The International Maritime Oranization yesterday asked us to celebrate the Day of The Seafarer by honoring the theme, “it came by sea, I can’t live without it!”. Now today, liner industry intelligence agency Alphaliner has released some figures that really hammer home the truth in that slogan.

In it’s weekly newsletter, Alphaliner has announced that the global containership fleet has reached the 16 million teu mark in spite of a slowing growth rate.  Alphliner estimates that as of June 26 the global containership fleet has the capacity for a total of 16,017,550 teu, surpassing a milestone that has been pushed along by newbuild deliveries.  So far in 2012, Alphaliner counts that approximately 772,000 teu have been added representing a 5% spike in total capacity, plus an additional 30,000 teu are expected to hit the water this week.

But in spite of the gross delivery rate, total teu capacity growth has slowed over the past two years primarily due to increased scrapping.

Alphaliner says that that global fleet has taken twelve months to climb from 15 to 16 million teu, as compared to ten months to climb from 14 to 15 million and just nine months to climb from 13 to 14 million teu.  So far, 89 ships totaling 163,000 teu have either been sent to the breakers or decommissioned during the first six months of this year, compared to just 107,000 teu in all of 2011.  In addition, a total of 12,000 teu have been lost at sea.

Despite the high scrapping level, the teu capacity removed remains only a fraction of new deliveries seen by an industry already reeling from overcapacity. The net additions to the cellular fleet during the first six months of 2012 will approach 640,000 teu, or 4.2% of the fleet by the end of June, Alphaliner says.  Scrapping activity, however, is expected to fall in the second half of 2012 as scrap prices plunge.

Overall Alphaliner expects that overcapacity in the conatinership industry will continue to accelerate at an alarming rate.  Earlier this year the company estimated that in 2012 the world cellular containership fleet is expected to grow by 8.3%, presenting a serious challenge for the shipping industry fueled also by an orderbook bias towards larger ships.

global teu growth graph
Source: Alphaliner
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