LONDON: The global container shipping industry will take delivery of 108 ships in excess of 14,000 TEU, doubling the number of mega ships in operation to 200 by the end of 2018, according SeaIntel Maritime Analysis.
SeaIntel said shipping alliances 2M and THE Alliance will phase-in the new vessels primarily to augment existing services and reduce unit costs by deploying a few more ultra-large vessels.
However, the size of Ocean Alliance fleet of ultra-large vessels will rise 60 per cent in 2018, and most of the vessel deliveries are scheduled for the early part of the year.
"This in turn means that Ocean Alliance - if they wish to optimise their changing fleet portfolio - needs to rethink the fundamental structure of their current network," the analysts said.
"Major restructuring of networks is typically seen to take place in Q1 and early Q2 in the wake of Chinese New Year. This timing coincides well with the delivery profile for 2018."
SeaIntel CEO Alan Murphy said: "Consequently, shippers should prepare themselves for a 2018 wherein the network structures of 2M and THE Alliance are likely to undergo only smaller modifications.
However, Ocean Alliance will potentially change their network "More drastically, offering new products and network structures, driven by the rapid delivery of large vessels," said Mr Murphy.