Zombie "orders?Container ship orders fell to a 20-year low
After four consecutive years of decline, container ship orders as a share of the existing fleet fell to a 20-year low, falling below the 10 per cent threshold for the first time.Meanwhile, idle container ship capacity reached a record peak of 2.5 million TEU.As the epidemic continues, more and more shipowners are shelving plans for new ships, and a batch of new ship orders in the order book are becoming "zombie" orders.
According to Alphaliner data, handheld orders for container ships totaled just 2.21 million TEU in July 2020, reducing the proportion of the existing fleet to 9.4 percent, the first time in more than 20 years that the number has fallen below 10 percent.
After the 2008-09 financial crisis, shipowners are bullish about a rapid recovery in the world economy and want to take advantage of attractive ship prices to order new vessels.As a result, container ship orders keep pouring in, and the number of hand orders has been stable at about 4 million TEU.
However, since 2016, the number of container ship hand orders has continued to decline, from 3.55 million TEU in July 2016 to 2.84 million TEU in July 2018, and then further shrinking to only 2.21 million TEU at present.
Alphaliner pointed out that the novel Coronavirus pandemic undoubtedly accelerated the shrinkage of hand-held orders, but the main reason for the slowdown in the growth rate of new ship orders was the oversupply in the market. Too many container ships could not obtain the shipping contract and were forced to idle, which hindered the generation of new orders.
"In the last decade, container ships have been sitting idle almost all of the time except for short periods of high season," Alphaliner said.Seasonal spare capacity is often as high as 1m to 1.5m TEU.Not to mention this year's peak of 2.5 million TEU, a record idle capacity was originally caused by the refit of vessel desulfurization devices brought by the new IMO 2020 regulations, but the epidemic has severely disrupted shipping market demand."
According to the statistics of Alphaliner, the order distribution of different types of container ships is extremely uneven.There is a gap in the order of 15000-18000TEU container ships, the order of 4000-9900TEU container ships is zero, while the order of 10000TEU and above container ships is more than 2 million TEU.
The influx of very large container ships is expected to continue to put pressure on the medium container sector as large vessels are diverted to the route market where small and medium-sized vessels are deployed.Some orders are still expected in the mid-sized container ship sector, but customised ships for specific trade routes are most likely.
So far this year, container-shipping companies such as Haberot and Japan's Ocean Network Shipping (ONE), which had planned to build 23, 000 teU super-large container ships, have put their plans on hold.In addition, Alphaliner believes that there are a small number of pending "zombie" orders in official handheld order data that have been officially signed and published but then quietly dropped, renegotiated, or delayed at a later stage.