THE number of idle containerships globally ballooned to 435 ships, aggregating 1.7 million TEU in early November, up from 238 vessels with a combined capacity of 900,000 TEU in the same month last year, according to shipping consultancy Drewry.
The idle ships currently account for nine per cent of the global containership fleet. At the beginning of last year, the idle fleet was just 2.5 per cent. There are several factors which caused this surge in the second half of the year, reported World Maritime News.
One is the expanding overcapacity in the global container shipping sector and, particularly, surplus capacity of old 4,000-5,000 TEU Panamax ships following the opening of the widened Panama Canal in June.
The capacity of idle ships of 3,000-5,000 TEU has doubled since November 2015 as 89 ships of this size were idle as of November 7, 2016. The size of these ships makes them too small for the main trades and they are increasingly seen as obsolete, Drewry explains.
Another factor behind the surge of idle ships is the bankruptcy of Hanjin at the end of August. Before filing for court receivership, the Hanjin-operated fleet accounted for 622,958 TEU or 36 per cent of the total idle fleet. Of this ex-Hanjin fleet some 200,000 TEU is for containerships of more than 10,000 TEU from discontinued transpacific and Asia-Europe services.
"The Hanjin bankruptcy may have created an artificial jump in the idle fleet, until some former Hanjin-operated ships are transferred to operators," Drewry said, adding that "it is normal for vessels to be taken out of service during the slack season, so an increase in idle fleet after the busy summer peak season was expected."
However, 1.1 million TEU of the idle fleet equivalent to 65 per cent of the total is ships owned by non-operating owners. Operators, or charterers, tend to off-charter vessels first and keep their owned vessels active. Many ships which were previously chartered at relatively high rates are not chartered again and join the idle fleet.
Source: SchednetPrevious Next
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