The outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic has basically put a brake on investments in the shipbuilding sector, especially on the container shipping side, as many owners shelved their newbuilding plans for better days.
Instead of plotting fleet expansion plans, liner companies have had to save liquidity through cost-saving measures due to the overall slowdown in the global economy and dwindling demand.
One of the notable names from the sector is Hapag-Lloyd which has postponed the decision on ordering ultra large containerships until further notice due to the ongoing market uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
The investments are expected to target boxhips with the capacity of up to 23,000 TEU or even higher, as Hapag-Lloyd seeks to modernize its fleet in the upcoming two to three years.
Japanese Ocean Network Express (ONE), who allegedly asked the shipyards to come up with offers for a series of 23,000+ TEU ships last year, has also frozen its plans for the time being.
Speaking at Digital Container Summit hosted by Container xChange on Thursday, Jan Tiedeman, a senior analyst at maritime consultancy Alphaliner, said he believes a new wave of containership orders is likely.
“Over the last decade, despite all the crisis we have been in, the container fleet has grown rapidly, around 1 million TEU every year, even during the Lehman Brothers crisis in 2008,” Tiedemann said.
“For the first time now in more than 20 years, the global containership orderbook has fallen below 10 percent of the current global fleet.
The global containership orderbook, seen as a percentage of the world fleet, has dropped to a historic low in July 2020, standing at only 9.4% or 2.21 million TEU, data from Alphaliner shows.
This very low order book means that some yards in Asia are struggling, offering low prices and investing strenuous efforts in offering more environmentally-friendly ships, with new technologies, that are more economical to run, Tiedemann explained.
“I do believe that there will be more orders in the future, especially on the large containership side. Maybe we will see more orders in 2021 for delivery in 2023. But, I do believe we will see the next wave of orders.
“At the same time, I hope that there will be some restraint, because overordering has killed the industry for many years, resulting in oversupply of tonnage.”