Drewry Maritime Advisors say that the trend of “big ship obsession” may soon come to an end.
The three largest carriers in the world – Maersk Line
, MSC and CMA CGM – extended their dominance by taking on the most capacity, while the five leading carriers between them accepted two-thirds of all the new capacity.
The desire for mega-ships is logical for individual carriers “but the impact on the industry at large has been disastrous with rock-bottom freight rates that we’re seeing now the end result,” says the London-based consultancy.
According to Drewry, the emphasis last year was on the big ships. Vessels over 10,000 TEUs accounted for 55 percent of the total capacity delivered in 2015 and now make up approximately a quarter of the current world fleet, up from less than 5 percent in 2011. The share will continue to grow as vessels of this size currently make up around three quarters of the total orderbook.
Twenty-four ships above 17,000 TEUs joined the world fleet in 2015, accounting for 446,000 TEUs out of record total deliveries of 1.7 million TEUs.
The economic argument for ordering ever bigger ships diminishes as they grow and actually reverses upon reaching 24,000 teu as ports struggle to turn them around efficiently and the total system cost rises.
“We know that for each individual company the desire for big ships is logical, but the impact on the industry at large has been disastrous with rock-bottom freight rates that we’re seeing now the end result,” Drewry said.
Most of the new orders occurred in the first nine months of last year as things cooled off in the fourth quarter.