Containership orderbook-to-fleet ratio closes in on 20%

The containership orderbook as a percentage of fleet capacity is closing in on the 20% mark, having only broached double figures last October.

Box shipping’s vessel orderbook-to-fleet ratio had steadily decreased from 30% in 2010 to 8.8% at the end of Q3 last year, the lowest figure recorded this century. Since then orders have piled in with Clarkson Research Services reporting the ratio stands at 17.6% today. With big names such as Cosco, Hapag-Lloyd and HMM all rumoured to be readying more orders in the coming months, the 20% figure is likely to be crossed. Only the LNG sector has a higher ratio – at 23%.

In terms of delivery schedules, planning departments at liners around the world will need to brace for an extraordinary 2023 when the the vast majority of the ships now on order will start operating. Indeed, 2023 is shaping up as a year with more boxship deliveries in teu terms than any other in the near 70-year history of containerisation.

Ahead of that deluge, however, liners continue to bask in record territory.

Friday marked another new high in the container spot freight market, with the Shanghai Containerised Freight Index comprehensive index jumping 8% week-on-week to a record 3,343 points, and spot rates on the Shanghai to North Europe route rising 16% to a fresh all-time high of $5,438 per teu.

There were further gains in containership charter rates to amongst the highest levels ever recorded; 6-12 month charter rate for a 4,400 teu old panamax rose another 4% last week to $50,000 a day, on a par with peak levels seen in 2005. Both secondhand and newbuild boxship prices continue to rise.