The latest AXS-Alphaliner fleet forecast has been released. Two-hundred eighty-four cellular ships totaling 1,520,000 teu have been ordered during the first six months of 2007, for a total value of USD 22.5 bn. Two thirds of them were contracted during May and June. Within six months, it has then been ordered almost as much tonnage than during the whole year 2006, which saw a total of 401 cellular ships orders totaling 1,598,000 teu for a total value estimated at USD 24.2 billion, as per AXS-Alphaliner figures. Eighty-four of the 284 ships ordered during the first half 2007 were VLCS (ships over 7,500 teu), totaling 816,000 teu at a total cost of USD 11.5 bn. For these big ships, the average price paid per teu stands at USD 14.

May and June have been marked by a strong interest in Super Panamaxes of around 12,500 teu (365 m x 48.50 m - 19 rows on deck - 11 tiers in hold - 8 tiers on deck), six months after the new Panama locks project was validated by a vote. No less than 56 orders for such ships have emerged within the space of a few weeks, with for the time being only 20 of them certified as firm orders while the 36 remaining ones are either subject to the securing of a charter (24) or are options (12). Interestingly, these 56 ships are all planned to be built in Korea, by Samsung, Hyundai H.I., DSME or STX. 48 of them concern non operating owners. There may be actually more projects in the pipe line as carriers such as Maersk Line and MSC may well have ordered such ships, despite the fact that they developed programs for ships beyond the Super Panamax gauge (22 rows width for Maersk and 20 rows for MSC). These programs were launched well before the new Panama locks project was announced. Other carriers said to show interests are the Japanese companies, NYK, MOL and K Line. As a result of the past weeks ordering wave, the containership orderbook has reached an all time record of 5.45 M teu on 1,351 ships in absolute terms, representing 53% of the existing fleet, with deliveries stretching until 2011. As far as deliveries are concerned, the first six months of 2007 saw 210 cellular ships taking to the sea, for 742,000 teu.

Fleet forecast and annual growth (assuming no scrapping after 1st July 2007) :

  • 1st Jan 2008 : 4,424 ships for 11,045,000 teu (+15.3% during 2007)
  • 1st Jan 2009 : 4,876 ships for 12,625,000 teu (+14.3%)
  • 1st Jan 2010 : 5,238 ships for 14,250,000 teu (+12.8%) - Orders are still rolling for end 2009 delivery.

The average growth for the period 1st Jan 2007-1st Jan 2010 (three years) stands at 14.2% per annum in teu terms (13.4% in dwt terms).

As far as VLCS (ships over 7,500 teu) are concerned, there are now 172 such ships in service and a further 208 on order (they represent 37.2% of the total orderbook in teu terms).