Global Inactive Container Ship Fleet Shows Signs of Stabilization

Container Charter Market Shows Resilience Amidst Challenges

The upward momentum that had been propelling the global inactive container ship fleet to new heights recently came to a halt at the close of July, with a notable number of large vessels re-entering active service. This development follows a series of consecutive fortnights of growth, as reported by Alphaliner, a leading maritime consulting firm.

Alphaliner’s latest survey, conducted on July 31st, revealed a total of 231 ships with an accumulated capacity of 827,383 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) now lying inactive. This represents a capacity decline of 51,704 TEU compared to figures from a mere fortnight earlier. However, the number of idle vessels remained unchanged during this period.

The shift in these statistics can be attributed to the strategic decision of several carrier-controlled units, particularly those in the range of +12,500 TEU, to rejoin active operations. Furthermore, the survey indicated that three massive vessels with a capacity of over +18,000 TEU each emerged from repair yards to once again contribute to maritime trade.

As a result of these developments, the overall inactive capacity, including both idle and vessels under repair, accounted for 3.1% of the entire cellular container fleet by the end of July. This represents a decline from the 3.3% reported at the midpoint of the previous month, indicating a subtle but noteworthy shift in the industry landscape.

While the carrier-controlled segment experienced a decline in idle tonnage over the fortnight, the non-operating owners (NOO) sector demonstrated a higher level of activity, particularly in the smaller size categories. A marked increase was observed in the number of vessels idled by NOOs, with a total of 21 units and a combined capacity of 42,297 TEU idled by the end of July. This represents a notable rise of 7 vessels and 25,565 TEU from figures recorded just a fortnight prior. Notably, NOO-controlled tonnage now constitutes a significant 17% of the commercially idled fleet, reflecting a significant surge from the 6% reported in mid-July.

The balance between carrier-controlled and NOO-controlled idle capacity has also experienced a shift, with carrier-controlled capacity dropping to 83% of the total commercially idled tonnage. This marks a significant decline from the 94% reported a fortnight before, resulting in a tally of 60 ships with a cumulative capacity of 213,415 TEU.

Lastly, the survey documented the state of ships within repair yards, encompassing those undergoing maintenance, repair, retrofitting, and conversion. The end of July saw a total of 151 ships, with a combined capacity of 571,671 TEU, in various stages of repair. This indicates a net reduction of 23,266 TEU compared to figures from just two weeks prior, suggesting a steady progression towards active duty.

As the maritime industry continues to navigate through a dynamic landscape, these recent trends in the global inactive container ship fleet highlight the intricate balance between idled and active vessels, offering insights into the sector’s resilience and adaptability.

Source: Clarkssons, Alphaliner.

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