Clarksons: Rising Mega Boxship Fleet Drives Cascade

  •  As Eimskip, Royal Arctic Line Opt for Deltamarin Design

Amid a rapid growth in the mega boxship fleet, and nearly a year on from the opening of the new expanded locks of the Panama Canal in June 2016, the fleet of giants surged by 29% y-o-y in TEU terms, Clarkson Research informs.

The 15,000+ TEU mega boxship fleet has expanded rapidly in recent years and at the beginning of May it stood at 76 ships of 1.4 million TEU.

Deployed solely on the Asia-Europe route, and representing 36% of capacity on the route at the start of May, up from 27% a year earlier, growth in the 15,000+ TEU fleet has caused cascading of smaller, but still relatively large, containerships off this trade.

The rising proportion of 8-12,000 TEU vessel capacity deployed on the Transpacific is owed in part to the displacement of these units from the Far East-Europe route and new deployment opportunities on Asia-US East Coast routes via the new expanded locks at the Panama Canal.

In May 2017, 8-12,000 TEU ships accounted for 54% of deployed capacity on the Transpacific trade, whereas the 3-8,000 TEU sector, including old Panamax ships, accounted for 32%. This compares to 52% and 40% respectively one year earlier.

From around mid-2016, the cascade of larger units onto Transpacific routes has also been supported by firm trade growth.

“The ongoing delivery of mega boxships, trade growth and infrastructure capability are all important drivers of deployment. These factors are shifting all the time, and to keep track of vessel sector trends market watchers must still keep a close eye on cascading,” Clarksons said.

In the meantime, Finland’s ship designer Deltamarin has secured first contracts for its 2,150 TEU container vessel design from Icelandic Eimskip Ltd and Greenland-based Royal Arctic Line A/S, the company said.

The duo has ordered three container ships in total and they will be built at the Guangzhou Wenchong Shipyard in China, with which Deltamarin (China) Co. has signed a design contract.

Deltamarin added that it had developed the vessel concept for the two ship owners to fit their trading routes. According to their description, the ships are designed to achieve the best possible key performance indicators, such as container carriage variety, homogenous loading capacity, optimal manoeuvrability and harsh weather seakeeping performance.

The fuel-efficient and environmentally-friendly ships are capable of sailing even in Arctic waters. They will have an ice class and comply with the newly adopted IMO Polar Code, Deltamarin added.

They will comply with IMO NOx TIER III requirements and, due to the built-in scrubber system, sulphur oxide (SOx) emissions are also minimised.

With their overall length of 180 m and breadth of 31 m, these container vessels will be larger than the current vessels in the trade.

“We are very proud of this new contract, which further confirms our expertise in cargo ships. The design is based on Deltamarin’s extensive development work for a new generation of energy-efficient and operationally optimised 1,000-3,000 TEU container vessels intended for feeder service,” says Markku Miinala, Director, Sales and Marketing at Deltamarin.

The work will be carried out at Deltamarin’s Shanghai office in China over an estimated period of eight months.

In January this year, Reykjavik-based shipping company Eimskip said it had finalized an order for two 2,150 TEU container vessels with China Shipbuilding Trading Company Limited and Guangzhou Wenchong Shipyard.

Scheduled for delivery in 2019, the new containerships were ordered at a contract price of USD 32 million a piece.

Additionally, Greenland’s national carrier Royal Arctic Line signed a contract to build one containership of the same type with the Guangzhou Wenchong shipyard.

The orders were made on the back of a letter of intent signed between the two carriers in May 2016 to form and evaluate a potential cooperation of sharing capacity on the construction of container vessels and capacity sharing.

Subsequently, Eimskip and Royal Arctic Line signed an agreement for the cooperation.

World Maritime News