More Ships And More Containers Needed For ‘Feverish’ Box Shipping Sector


Supply in container shipping has become “febrile and extreme”, according to analysts at Transport Intelligence (Ti), as the sector lurches between a surge in the requirement for capacity and a large increase in the supply of new vessels.

Stanley Smulders, director of marketing and commercial for ocean carrier ONE, told The Loadstar on the sidelines of the Multimodal Exhibition in Birmingham that the Red Sea crisis had upset the balance of supply and demand in ocean shipping.

“In our industry, the market prices are normally set by supply and demand. Demand is easy – either it is up, or it is down. But the supply side is different.If you look at all the statistics, there are no ships idle. Every single vessel is actually working… So, all the shipping lines are in need of ships at the moment,” he explained.

Ti said: “The flow of new ships from Chinese and South Korean shipyards is continuing to grow. The number of new vessels is one of the reasons that the Cape route has inflicted only moderate pain on the market.”

According to Alphaliner data, ONE holds some 1.89m teu across 240 ships and has 36 vessels on order, which will add 475,274 teu to its network.

Largest carrier 

The largest carrier, MSC, accounts for 5.9m teu across 827 ships. It has 104 vessels, or 1.2m teu, on its orderbook, while Maersk has 4.4m teu across 713 ships and has 32 on its orderbook, set to give it an additional 406,014 teu.

Ti found that when compared with the same quarter last year, Q2 saw a 1.5% increase in capacity. However, the quarter-on-quarter comparison shows a slight decline, of 0.7%, in global average capacity.

According to Alphaliner data, MSC charters 50.3% of its fleet, Maersk 41.1% and ONE 58.6%. Hapag-Lloyd charters the fewest of the ten major carriers, at 40% of its fleet, whereas Zim comes in at the other end of the spectrum, with 94.6% of its fleet chartered.

And Ti warned: “What hangs over the market is what it will look like when, or if, the Suez Canal route returns. It would seem likely that the balance of supply and demand would shift violently towards what might be called an oversupply of container shipping capacity.”

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Source: Loadstar