According to analysts VesselsValue (VV), the container ship market continues to impress with record breaking rates and ordering never seen before.
In an article on its website, Olivia Watkins, Head Cargo Analyst at VesselsValue says a total of 286 ship orders were ordered in the first half of 2021. This is up an incredible 790% from H1 2020.
New Panamax sizes, which are typically 13-15,000dwt, have been at the forefront of the ordering activity. The development of port infrastructure and the ability to fit larger vessels through the Panama Canal has meant this size of vessel is particularly desirable. There are currently 388 New Panamax vessels live on the water at the moment with a further 175 on order across the sector.
Amongst these orders, Seaspan have come in as top buyer in the first half of 2021, by number of vessels and total order value. Evergreen have come in second by total value in USD bn ordered due to their orderbook comprising of New Panamax and ULCVs. Although Wan Hai Lines are second by number of vessels ordered with the majority of their vessels at around 3,000 TEU.
On the second hand front a significant increase in activity in the Panamax market is evident with number of sales is up 780% for year to date 2021 compared to year to date 2020.
Along with orders and sales, freight rates and operational speeds are also on an upward trend. According to VV every single earnings value has more than doubled since the beginning of the year for example Panamaxes were earning $19,000/day, today they are earning $45,000/day.
Ship speeds are continuing to increase, as they have been for the last eight months. The average laden speed across all container vessels was 14.70 knots in June, showing a 5.2% YoY growth as well MoM growth of 0.5%. New Panamax vessels take the top spot with speeds of 16.37 knots. These high speeds continue to be supported by favourable market conditions.
Alongside increasing speeds, cargo miles have been growing through the first half of 2021, with June’s figures at 161.9 bn TEU-NM, almost back to pre-pandemic levels. Fleet growth is set to increase which may disrupt the balance between supply and demand, but for the near future this balance looks positive for Container vessels, as YoY cargo mile growth continues to exceed YoY fleet growth. Since the start of 2021, cargo miles from the USA rank the highest for New Panamax container vessels, indicating the popularity of US trades for this vessel type, especially in this post pandemic Covid-19 recovery period.