Big spike in containership lay-ups mid-peak season a worry for owners

By Mike Wackett

Alphaliner’s bellwether containership idle tonnage data has recorded a big spike in vessels being consigned to lay-up, shifting the supply-demand balance back in favour of the charterer. The consultant said the capacity of the idle tonnage fleet had risen to 341,000 TEUs by the end of July, representing 1.6 per cent of the total global cellular fleet.

This is a worrying increase for shipowners, not least because this has happened in the middle of the peak season. Indeed, with the slack season not normally expected until October, Alphaliner said the amount of unemployed tonnage could reach 750,000 TEUs, or more, by the end of the year. (more…)

Yang Ming opts for greener containerships as it renews its charter fleet

By Mike Wackett

Taiwanese ocean carrier Yang Ming has signed long-term charter agreements for five 11,000 TEU and five 12,000 TEU newbuild ships for delivery between 2020 and 2021.

The carrier said the new eco-friendly ships were part of its “ongoing fleet renewal programme”, replacing older vessels with higher fuel consumption. It currently operates a fleet of 103 containerships, with a capacity of 632,000 TEUs. It charters 63 vessels and is ranked seventh in the carrier league table. (more…)

Despite $73 million H1 loss, new owner Cosco tells OOCL staff their jobs are safe

By Mike Wackett

Orient Overseas International (OOIL) suffered a loss of $73 million in its OOCL container business in the first six months of the year, following a profit of $24.5 million in the same period of 2017. H1 revenues were $3.1 billion, versus $2.8 billion the year before, earned from liftings which had increased by 6 per cent to 3.3 million TEUs. But increased costs hit the bottom line.

OOCL was particularly aggressive on the transpacific and Asia-Europe tradelanes, recording growth of 11.3 per cent and 16.7 per cen respectively. However, average revenue per TEU was up just 3.5 per cent and OOIL admitted that increased costs for OOCL had “hurt profitability”. It said: “The higher price of oil has increased fuel costs and equipment reposition costs have been amplified by the increasing imbalance between the strong headhaul growth and stable to weakening backhaul growth.” (more…)

Yang Ming the latest carrier to see its bottom line sink into the depths

By Mike Wackett

Taiwanese ocean carrier Yang Ming has become the latest container line to report a heavy loss in the second quarter of the year, posting a net deficit of $129 million, which means that all three members of THE Alliance vessel-sharing agreement have now posted negative results for the period.

Yang Ming attributed its loss in Q2 to “unexpected higher fuel prices” and an “oversupply of tonnage”. It said its average fuel price had jumped by 25 per cent, compared with the same quarter the year before, and that the container shipping industry faced “arduous and continued challenges this year”. (more…)

Scrapping may make a comeback as smaller containerships lose their appeal

By Mike Wackett

Non-operating owners of aging gas-guzzling small containerships are likely to renew their interest in scrapping as the charter market makes an unexpected U-turn. The latest idle tonnage report by Alphaliner records 131 ships of 500-5,100 TEU in hot or cold lay-up seeking employment, compared with just 56 in February.

The consultant notes an “alarming increase in spot tonnage under 1,000 TEU”, with some 25 ships seeking fixtures, more than double the number it recorded in mid-June. Alphaliner’s idle tonnage total at 23 July was 142 vessels for 341,229 TEUs, representing 1.6 per cent of the global fleet. At the end of May, the numbers were 85 vessels for 205,829 TEUs. (more…)

Container leasing market under pressure as carriers cut back

By Mike Wackett

After a strong first six months with container drop-offs at an exceptionally low level, container leasing companies face a tougher second half. Financially stressed ocean carriers are closing loss-making routes and postponing new services. July’s Drewry Container Census & Leasing annual review and forecast report expects the return for the sector to be “squeezed”, due to the higher cost of newbuild equipment and static leasing rates. “With little change in lease rates anticipated over the next few years, investment returns are forecast to remain under pressure,” said Andrew Foxcroft, Drewry’s lead analyst for container equipment. “Although we have seen returns edge up to near 10 per cent in the first half of this year, we do not expect these levels to be sustained given the recent build-up of factory stocks.” (more…)