The world fleet has grown 50% since the financial crisis in 2008 and now stands at some 9,000 ships of 1.2 billion gross tonnes and 1.8 billion deadweight currently worth about $650 billion, with a further $190 billion worth of tonnage on order (excluding offshore).
These were the headline figures presented by Clarksons Reserach Managing Director, Steve Gordon during his markets presentation at the IUMI annual conference in Genoa this week.
Fleet growth in gt terms peaked at 8% in 2010 and 2011 but is expected to be only 3% this year and decline further to nearer 2% by 2018.
Excess world fleet capacity is currently running at around 15%, not quite as bad as the 20% plus levels seen in the 1980s, Gordon said, but he did single out the offshore as being “the worst market since 1986” with much lay-up and idling of capacity, and only the Middle East market said to be “insulated” to some degree from the problem.
Record high oil prices had stimulated investment in ever more sophisticated assets capable of ultra-deepwater operations in the years up to 2014, he explained, mirroring the 1986 downturn caused by overproduction by the Saudis.
On the shipping side the current growth spurt was exacerbated by heavy ordering of newbuilds in the years 2010, 2013 and 2015, with factors such as the injection of funds by Private Equity, the allure of new ‘eco-ships’ and the deadline for Tier III NOx emissions all contributory factors.
Net result of the present overcapacity is that demolition is on the rise, particularly in certain segments, Gordon reported. 1H 2016 was a record period for bulker demolitions, he said, with 22.1m dwt reported scrapped, while Alphaliner has this month reported the demise of a 10-year panamax containership, the youngest undamaged boxship ever consigned to scrap.
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