2018 Container Shipping Market Turmoil

- Jan 09, 2018-

New ship orders continue to increase, a large number of new vessels continue to deliver, after experiencing the rebalancing of supply and demand in 2017, the 2018 container shipping market under the dual pressures will be a turbulent year.


Alphaliner noted that orders for container ships in 2017 increased 140% from the previous year to 671641 TEU. However, the share of hand-held orders in the existing fleet dropped from 15.7% at the end of 2016 to the current 12.6% due to the increase in deliveries and the decrease in dismantling volumes.Glenflange


Alphaliner expects orders for container ships to continue to increase in 2018. Many owners, including Hyundai Merchant Marine and Yang Ming Marine, will sign construction contracts with Asian shipyards, while some non-operational shipowners are still keen to build new ones because of the attractive newbuilding costs.


In fact, Hyundai Merchants, Yang Ming Marine and some other small carriers have made it clear that they are planning to build new ones in 2017 with improved trading conditions. CK Yoo, President and CEO of Hyundai Merchant Marine, has reaffirmed its aspirations for growth in the New Year message, including ordering very large container ships. The company will continue to consider how to double the size of the fleet from 347,000 TEU by 2022. The plan also includes promoting the operation of very large container ships. CK Yoo said the company has achieved its annual growth plan in 2017 and its container capacity has reached 4 million TEUs in 2017 from 3 million TEUs in 2016 and regained customer support.


As of December 31, 2017, there were 345 orders for container ships worldwide, with a capacity of 2.67 million TEUs. Most of the orders are for large container ships. These include 9 22,000 TEU container ships from CMA CGM and 11 22,000 TEU container ships from Mediterranean Shipping. In addition, COSCO SHIPPING ordered 28 container vessels for a total of 496,000 TEU, averaging 17,700TEU for each vessel, representing a capacity of 27.6% of the company's fleet.


Alphaliner predicts that the number of container ships to be delivered in 2018 will increase to 1.49 million TEUs while the estimated number of containers for dismantling old vessels will be reduced to 350,000 TEUs. The estimated fleet (Glenflange) capacity will increase by 5.6% throughout the year. According to Alphaliner, by the end of 2017, the global container fleet has increased to 5,177 vessels and 21.1 million TEU, up 3.7% over the previous year.

Meanwhile, according to Braemar ACM data, a total of 153 container ships were dismantled in 2017, totaling 437,000 TEUs, a decrease of 658,000 TEUs compared with 182 vessels in 2016. Benefit from the first half of 2017 and the growing demand for ship rents, container shipowners no longer ship dismantling.


According to Alphaliner, a total of 117 container ships were idle for 2017, amounting to 416,000 TEU, accounting for 2% of the global fleet, reaching its lowest level since 2015 and significantly lower than the 2016 peak of 400.

Analysts said that on the whole, the container shipping market is still facing turmoil in 2018. Despite the weak demand and seasonal fluctuations, rising oil prices and market protectionism are additional threats to the growth of the demand for container transportation in 2018-2019.