2021 is a peculiar year for container shipping30/08/2021
This year is turning out to be a spectacular year in container shipping; freight rates are record high, more cargo than ever before is shipped on the transpacific trade lane specifically and globally in general, and the previous annual record on new orders for container ship capacity has just been breached – in less than eight months.
619 container ships are now on order for future delivery, 381 in 2021 alone, and never has 3.44m TEU being ordered in such a short time span. Still, it’s not a record for the total orderbook, as 6.8m TEU were on order by the end of July 2008, compared to 5.3m TEU today.
60 container ships with a cargo carrying capacity of 16,000 TEU each were ordered in February, March, April, and June by just five different owners. The one half of them was ordered by two Top-4 tonnage providers and one minor, and the other half by operating liner companies.
As owners see a somewhat different trade pattern developing in recent years and very much right now, due to the US-China trade war and the COVID-19 outbreak, the more ‘versatile’ 13,000-16,000 TEU have been preferred to the Ultra-Large Container Ships (ULCS).
Container shipping capacity of 1.5m TEU has been ordered so far in 2021, for delivery in each of the years 2023 and 2024. As the scheduled orderbook for 2024 today stands at 2.15m TEU, it’s worth noticing, that the record delivery year, date back to 2015, where 1.66m TEU entered active service on the global container lines’ networks.