Containership newbuild ordering slumped to $203m in the first quarter of the year as the industry’s financial woes brought ordering activity to a virtual standstill.
New figures from Clarksons show that only seven ships amounting to 13,580 teu were ordered in the opening three months of 2012, compared with 69 vessels totalling 550,000 teu in the same period of 2011. In the whole of last year 1.8m teu was ordered.
The latest figures do not include Evergreen’s order, through a long-term charter contract, for 10 ships of 13,800 teu that was inked this month.
Although interest is picking up in smaller ship sizes, with Lomar Shipping ordering a pair of 2,190 teu ships in March at a price of $26m each, firm commitments remain very low so far, despite falling yard prices.
Clarksons’ newbuilding price index stood at 85 in March, having rallied to 95 in the middle of last year as the market staged a brief recovery from the 2009 collapse. In 2008, the index had touched 127 before freight rates collapsed and ordering activity seized up.
At the same time, deliveries are accelerating, with Clarksons estimating that 20 ships totalling 194,069 teu were handed over in March, making it the third highest month on record.
That brought year-to-date deliveries to 385,185 teu, with current projections indicating a full year total of 1.3m teu, with another 1.4m teu due next year, of which ships in excess of 8,000 teu will account for two thirds.