Container newbuild avalanche sets new records

New containership deliveries in June reached 277,873 teu, setting a new record for the highest level of new vessel capacity delivered in a single month, according to data from Asia-based box watchers Linerlytica. 

The total number of new ships delivered in the first six months of the year has reached 148 units for 975,344 teu with over 1.2m teu still due in the second half of the year even after provisions for delivery slippage, Linerlytica has warned. Full year deliveries are set to reach 2.2m teu in 2023, which will also be a new annual delivery record, beating the previous high of 1.7m teu delivered in 2015.

This new high mark for boxship deliveries will then be immediately broken in 2024 when a further 391 ships of almost 3m teu capacity is forecast by Alphaliner to enter service.

In contrast, there were only 47 ships sent for demolition in the first half of this year for 84,685 teu according to Linerlytica. The current pace of capacity deletions is well below the record high of 695,850 teu that were removed in 2016.

Container shipping has ordered record quantities of boxships in the past three years, with today’s orderbook standing at around 8m teu.

According to data from Clarksons Research, by the end of 2025 the global box fleet will have reached 30m teu, 15% larger than current levels. The 20m teu mark was broken in 2017. 

“The tide is turning for container shipping. The market is bracing for a massive inflow of new capacity amid slowing demand and resolved congestion. This makes capacity discipline paramount for container liners, but that won’t be easy with increasing competitive pressure after years of record profits,” a new container shipping report from Dutch bank ING has warned.