Global containership capacity is expected to grow by only 4.6% this year, with fewer newbuildings and an increased level of scrapping. In combination, the slower pace of vessel deliveries and the projected increase in the numbers of containerships sold for demolition, are expected curb 2016 net fleet growth to less than 1 Mteu of nominal vessel capacity.
In percentage terms, this year’s growth will be the lowest ever recorded for the global containership fleet. Falling below the previously smallest year-on-year increase of 5.5%, recorded in 2009, it will register well below the average annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.3%, recorded since 1990. Adjusted for potential deferrals, vessel deliveries are expected to reach 1.25 Mteu this year, compared to a record capacity of 1.72 Mteu delivered in 2015.
This figure could end up even lower if the current weak market demand persists over the course of the year: Continued slow demand could prompt owners to delay deliveries of some ships in their order books, while a small number of orders, placed at financially troubled yards, could be cancelled altogether. Vessels withdrawn through scrapping and other deletions are expected to reach an estimated 350,000 teu, as sagging demand is expected to increasingly force owners to de-commission elderly ships.
The number of vessels sold for scrap surged in December last year, with 15 units for 51,000 teu sold within that month alone. These ships accounted for more than a quarter of the total of 192,000 teu scrapped in 2015. This year, the average age of ships sent for breaking is expected to be rather low.