The container shipping industry "continues to suffer new, big ship deliveries" with no let-up to the ordering frenzy according to the latest forecast from Drewry Maritime Research.
The market analyst predicts another year of excess growth in relation to demand in 2015. This will make it harder for carriers to repeat the estimated 92% load factors across the main headhaul East-West trade lanes achieved in 2014.
New orders for ultra large container vessels (ULCVs: 18,000 teu and above) are pushing back the date when supply and demand can be expected to meet and at the individual trade route level this is now seemingly unachievable. There have been around 40 ULCVs ordered since January, mainly for 2017 delivery and this does not include any provision for Maersk and Cosco orders yet to be finalised.
"The industry paid a heavy price for the huge ordering it undertook in 2006/07 and it seems that four years after Maersk spent $3.8 billion on its Triple Es, history is repeating and many lines are entering or are about to enter this now not so exclusive club. The one difference this time around is that the operational agreements should mean that not all top 20 lines will make this big step", comments Neil Dekker, Drewry's director of container research.