Jobless Panamax Ships Soars and Unemployment may Increase Further
The idle containership fleet is back to more than 1 million 20-foot-equivalent units after a brief dip in July, with rising unemployment impacting all vessel sizes, Alphaliner said.
The unemployment numbers can increase even faster as creditors of Hanjin Shipping would detain some of its ships as the Korean carrier slips into bankruptcy, analysts speculate.
There were 296 unemployed ships of more than 500 TEUs with a total capacity of 1.02 million TEUs, equivalent to 5 percent of the total fleet, on August 8, compared with 261 ships of 906,000 TEUs two weeks earlier, according to the industry analyst’s latest survey.
The number of jobless Panamax ships of 4,000 TEUs to 5,100 TEUs has hit an all-time high of 83 units, of which 82 are controlled by non-operating owners, as much larger vessels up to 13,000 TEUs are now able to transit the recently widened Panama Canal.
The 2,000-TEU to 3,000-TEU sector has also been hit by numerous re-deliveries, with 55 ships looking for work. A new China-Australia service launched by Great Southern Shipping will use just five vessels of this size and further employment options remain limited, according to Alphaliner.
There are 18 ships more than 7,500 TEUs looking for work, of which five are controlled by non-operating owners.
The current idle fleet is almost three times the 345,916-TEU unemployment figure of a year ago.
The charter market continues to weaken with most ship sizes — even those in relatively short supply — suffering a steady erosion in rates “that creates further misery for owners who are going through increasingly nerve-wracking times.”
The number of Panamax ships in the spot market has doubled since April and will continue to grow as more vessels, ending their trans-Panama deployments, will be re-delivered to their owners in the coming weeks.
With Panamax vessels being chartered at under $5,000 a day, some owners are opting to lay-up their tonnage rather that trade them at current market rates.
“Significantly more scrapping will be needed before charter rates could start moving upwards again,” Alphaliner said.
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Source: Daily Shipping Times