Big box ships show strongest growth

Malcolm Latarche

Malcolm Latarche · 30 October 2019


Analyst VesselsValue has added container ships to the list of vessels covered by their Trade module meaning users can now analyse cargo mile demand and see underlying vessel journeys and stoppages for the global fleet of Containerships.

Describing how the data highlights most profitable segments of the fleet, Adrian Economakis, COO of VesselsValue said, “Our Container trade service provides a data driven approach to understanding Containership demand, updated in real time and derived from individual vessel journeys. Combine this with supply analysis and you have a deep insight into the fundamentals of the different container segments”.

The Containership market has been showing some significant gains across both earnings and values, particularly in the Post Panamax and New Panamax segments. However, the US China trade war has had a negative impact on vessel demand. In terms of values, it’s been very much a split market, with larger container vessels significantly outperforming the smaller types.

According to Economakis, the best demand and supply fundamentals in the containership market are found at Post Panamax and above sizes. The Panamax sector is somewhat of a mixed bag. Historically, demand and supply fundamentals have been poor, with demand falling at faster rates than the shrinking supply of this vessel type.

The data for the smaller types is generally less positive, with supply growth generally exceeding demand, slightly falling values and less theoretical upside that the Panamax sector based on the position in cycle and macro-economic forecasts.

Demand growth in terms of total TEU capacity of the large container fleet being utilised has been strong. Over the past three months demand has grown by 2.3% versus a growth in vessel supply by total TEU capacity of 1.7%. This has certainly been one of the drivers for the significant rise in charter rates over that period. However, on an annual basis, supply growth at 4.9% has outpaced demand growth at 3.3%. Over a five-year period, demand and supply have been pretty well balanced with demand growing at 33.5% and supply at 33.1%.

Over the past 3 months, demand for Panamax containerships has grown at a healthy 2.1% while supply has shrunk slightly by 0.1%. However, over a longer history, the reverse is true with demand shrinkage generally outpacing supply reduction. Over the last year, Panamax TEU demand has falling by 5.6% while TEU supply has only fallen 1.3%. Over the past 5 years demand fallen 36.6% with supply falling significantly less at 22.1%.

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