Idle fleet hits new records

According to current reports from the WTO, the positive trade development of 2019 has come to a standstill, and it fell by 4.6 % on an annual basis. Container handling in ports around the world follows the same trend as world trade. In 2019 the container handling of all 359 ports included in the ISL Port Database amounted to approximately 694 million TEU, which corresponds to a growth of only 1.9 %. Also here, the first data for 2020 show a steep decline.

Above that, the inactive container fleet reached a new record level at the end of May 2020 with 551 ships (2.7 million TEU), which accounted for 11.6 % of global container capacity. The shipbuilding industry also suffers from the COVID19 pandemic. Only 13 new container ships were ordered in the first quarter of 2020, and no further orders for container ships were reported in April.


                                                                        © ISL, based on Alphaliner and Pixabay

Charter rates also suffered from the negative effects of the Corona crisis in 2020: the shrinking trade volume led to a decline in demand in container shipping, which resulted in a sharp increase in free capacity and, as a consequence, a sharp drop in charter rates, but this time especially for larger ship sizes. According to Clarkson Research, the daily rates for an 8,500 TEU ship have fallen most sharply: since the beginning of the year by 48 % from US$29,600 per day to US$15,400 in May 2020.

At the beginning of 2020, the container fleet comprised 5,360 ships with 22.9 million TEU, 4.2 % more than at the beginning of 2019. In the year 2019 some 156 ships with a total of 1.1 million TEU additional capacity were put into service - a decline of 18.5 % compared with 2018. The new deliveries in 2019 comprised 30 vessels with a capacity of more than 15,000 TEU each, of which 10 units with more than 23,000 TEU, which continues the decades-long trend of container ships getting bigger.

The ISL SSMR 2020-5 highlights various developments surrounding the container fleet and -market, the trade- and the port development. It is available via our Webshop. Subscribers already received their actual copies.