New Mega Influx Gets Underway
BMI View: A new influx of mega container vessels which is set to prolong overcapacity problems in the box shipping sector is getting underway. CMA CGM is launching the largest box ship afloat, the 16,020TEU Marco Polo. MSC is due to join CMS CGM at the 16,000TEU level in 2014, but Maersk Line will raise the bar still higher with the launch of an even bigger model, the 18,270TEU Triple E-Type in 2013. The introduction of even bigger ships to the global container shipping market will place further pressure on the oversupplied market and this problem will be exacerbated by the third wave of carriers expanding beyond the 13,000TEU level in 2013 and 2014.
CMA CGM has launched the first of three 16,020TEU ships, the other two are due online in April 2013. The vessels are conversions from 13,830TEU ships, which have been converted by South Korea's Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME). The ships will considerably boost CMA CGM's box fleet, as previously the company's largest vessel was 13,830TEU.
MSC, CMA CGM's nearest rival, is not to be outdone. The company is set to take on board a fleet of 16,000TEU ships in Q314. MSC is chartering what is believed to be four ships of this size from Zodiac Maritime, which placed an up-scaling order for four 16,000TEU containerships at South Korea's STX Offshore & Shipbuilding.
|Company||Current Largest Vessel Size (TEU)||Largest Vessel Newbuild Plans (TEU)||When Due Online|
|Already Operating 13,000TEU+ Vessels||Maersk Line||15,550||18,270||from 2013|
|CMA CGM||13,830||16,000||from November 2012|
|13,000TEU+ Vessels on Order||Evergreen Line||7,024||13,800||from 2014|
|NYK Line||9,300||13,000||from 2013|
CMA CGM, with its 16,020TEU Marco Polo, is currently the largest box ship afloat, beating Maersk Line's 15,550TEU E-class vessels into second place. Maersk Line is not set to remain in second place for long, with the Danish company preparing to set the container vessel bar even higher, when it launches the first of its 18,270TEU fleet in July 2013.
The launch of a new set of mega vessels by the top three players in the global container shipping will place further pressure on the already oversupplied box market. BMI highlights overcapacity will be further worsened by the fact that a third wave of carriers ( Evergreen, APL, MOL, NYK Line and CL) are due to add vessels of 13,000TEU and over to their fleets in 2013-2014.
By the end of 2014 15 out of the top 20 global container lines will be operating ships of 13,000TEU capacity or more. While carriers are trying to diversify the routes these megas can operate on with vessels of 13,000TEU and over, having been used on an Asia-Middle East hub port service and pulling into the US Port of Long Beach on a transpacific service, this capacity will remain exposed primarily to the Asia-Europe trade route. This concentrates the problem of overcapacity on a trade route, where demand - while picking up - is still forecast to be weak in 2013 and 2014.