Container ship orders have surged this year. File Image / Pixabay
The global orderbook for container ships jumped significantly in the first half of the year as freight rates surged on record demand and COVID-19 lockdown measures disrupted operations.
There were 'well over' 300 vessel orders in the first half totalling 2.88 million TEU of capacity, shipping intelligence service Alphaliner said in a note to clients on Wednesday. The total orderbook stood at 4.94 million TEU of capacity as of June 30, up from 2.29 million TEU a year earlier.
Container lines are the largest consumers of bunker fuel.
"Today's 19.9% orderbook to fleet ratio is expected to keep creeping up for a few more months as further newbuilding orders are placed, and as recent orders from the 'grey zone' are successively disclosed or otherwise confirmed," Alphaliner said.
"The container ship orderbook might easily grow by another million teu slots to reach 6 Mteu.
"The orderbook-to-fleet ratio would then reach about 24%.
"While history has shown otherwise, Alphaliner believes that the carriers and owners will eventually show some level of restraint and the '25%' level should -- hopefully -- remain a 'psychological' barrier in the orderbook-to-fleet ratio, where a 'heated' market becomes 'overheated'."
Ships capable of running on LNG represent about 22% of current orderbook capacity, the company said.