LONDON: The idle fleet of container ships of more than 500 TEUs has fallen, due to capacity demand, to only 136 units, equivalent to 520,365 TEUs, as of November 13, 2017, a figure that represents 2.5% of the total fleet accounted for in units.
According to an Alphaliner report, around 74,000 TEUs were removed from the idle fleet during the first half of November, reducing the number of inactive vessels in all size segments, except for the category between 7,500 and 12,500 TEUs, which saw an increase in number of inactive units from 14 to 17.
It is expected that the greater demand will persist during the next two months, due to the launch of new additional services already announced. The new demand is mainly focused on the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent with the launch of the new Far East service – Pakistan AS3/CPX 2 which will use five 5,000-TEU ships, of which APL will provide three, while the others will be provided by CMA CGM and OOCL, respectively.
In addition, GSL, RCL, KMTC, TSL and SM Line will form a new team for the China – Southeast Asia – Colombo – Pakistan – Middle East, service that will deploy seven ships of between 5,000 and 7,000 TEUs.
The demand has also been driven by the reluctance of the shipping companies to implement the deployment of winter programs on the Asia – Europe and Transpacific routes which, in previous years, have seen the withdrawal of smaller itineraries – which this year has not been announced – and “blank” navigations, which have been significantly reduced in 2017.
It is expected that the buoyant demand for the low season will lead at the end of the year to a low projection of the idle fleet, in comparison to the one initially projected.
Alphaliner’s early projections of between 0.8 and 1.0 million TEUs of idle capacity by the end of 2017, that have been revised and reduced to only 0.6 million TEUs considering current trends.