The overcapacity in the container shipping sector seems to have finally struck a nerve as owners abstained from ordering new boxship capacity for the first time in years.
According to BIMCO, the first quarter of this year was the first time since the second quarter of 2009 that three months have passed without any new orders signed.
"The lack of orders reflects the very poor market conditions and the fact that 2015 saw 2.2 million TEU being ordered. This was the second ever largest volume of containership capacity ordered annually– second only to 2007 when 3.25 million TEU was contracted," said BIMCO's Chief Analyst Peter Sand.
Owners are staying clear from new orders also due to the delivery of new containership capacity, which BIMCO claims has exceeded its expectations with 240,730 TEU delivered into the fleet in Q1.
On the other hand, recycling of superfluous ships has been stepped up slightly in 2016, with 105,509 TEU leaving the fleet.
As a result, the net growth of the fleet in Q1 was 0.7%. For the full year BIMCO expects 3.4%, slightly up from its January estimate.
March saw the record broken for the largest containership ever to be demolished. The 15 year-old, 6,479TEU post-panamax "CSAV Papudo" was sold to breakers in India at a strong US$295 per ldt and became only the second ship with a capacity of more than the 6,000 TEU to be demolished. By mid April, owners have sent 115,570 TEU to the breakers primarily in India.
However, years of negative fleet growth need to pass for the suplly-demand balance to be restored, as BIMCO's forecast of 250,000 TEU to be broken up in 2016 only cuts into the fleet by a fraction representing 1.26% of the current fleet size.
Separately, the one-sided focus on cutting costs per transported TEU by ordering ever larger ships continues along the lines of "bigger is better", added BIMCO.
In 2015, 119 ships with a 10,000+ TEU capacity accounted for 87% of the total new capacity being ordered. The other 118 ships ordered, ranging in size from 1,000 TEU to 5,300 TEU accounted for only 13%.
This year, the average containership size for delivered ships is going down from the all-time-high 7,952 TEU in 2015 to around 7,000 TEU per ship.
In terms of outlook, BIMCO does not expect demand to grow at a pace needed to match the capacity of new ships entering the fleet.
Hence, extensive idling of the modern and efficient ships in the fleet and continued demolition of the inefficient ships will improve the market both in the short and mid-term.
"For the longer term management of capacity, a low level of contracting for newbuildings must be maintained. 2016 is off to a good start on all these parameters," concludes Sand.
Chinese COSCO (Zhoushan) Shipyard, a subsidiary of COSCO Shipyard Group, has entered into a contract with an undisclosed European buyer to construct two 113,000dwt crude oil tankers. In addition, the European buyer has been given the option to make a decision before November 2016 to build two more.
COSCO Zhoushan and the European buyer have agreed to keep the contract prices confidential, the company said.
COSCO said that the transactions are not expected to have a material impact on the net tangible assets and earnings per share of the company for the year ending Dec. 31, 2016.
Florida-based shipping company Crowley Maritime Corporation christened on Thursday Louisiana, the latest of its four new Jones Act product tankers at the Port of New Orleans.
Having received the American Bureau of Shipping's (ABS) LNG-Ready Level 1 approval, Louisiana has a potential for future conversion to LNG propulsion.
Designed by South Korean Hyundai Mipo Dockyards (HMD), the four Jones Act product tankers are being built for the company by Philly Shipyard (PSI) in Philadelphia.
The 50,000dwt Louisiana is capable of carrying 330,000 barrels of product.
With its length of 600 feet, the ship has the capacity to transport crude oil or refined petroleum products, as well as various chemical cargoes. It will operate in the U.S. Gulf, according to Crowley.
China's CSBC Corporation, Taiwan (CSBC) will formally start the construction of the first and second 2,800teu container vessels in a series of ten this July for compatriot shipowner Evergreen Marine Corp, reported a domestic shipping news portal.
The value of the ten vessels exceeds US$300m. The deliveries will be completed by the first half of 2018.
Japanese shipping company Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL) received the liquefied natural gas (LNG) carrier Kumul at Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding in Shanghai on April 29.
The 290-meter long vessel, which was ordered by MOL subsidiary Gemini LNG Shipping Limited, is the last in a series of four newbuilding LNG carriers ordered by MOL to provide LNG transportation for projects in Papua New Guinea.
Featuring a cargo tank capacity of 171,800 m3, the vessel will be operated under a long-term charter contract for the PNG LNG project operated by ExxonMobil, according to MOL.
The first vessel from the batch, the Papua, was delivered in January 2015, the second one, the Southern Cross, joined its owner in June that year, while the owner took delivery of the third one, the Beidou Star, in November 2015.
All vessels have been launched to sail under long-term charters with ExxonMobil.
In April, MOL launched the operation of its newly established LNG carrier management company, MOL LNG Transport (MOLLNG (Asia)) in order to meet demands of an anticipated growth in LNG transport sector for Asia.
The company revealed its intention to play a central role in ship management, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region, as it becomes involved in the operation of a growing number of LNG carriers.
The company is currently involved in the operation of about 70 LNG carriers.
Singapore-based shipowner Ocean Tankers has recently placed an order of twenty 11,000dwt chemical tankers with two Chinese shipbuilders, reported a domestic shipping news portal.
The total value of the 20 vessels is approximately US$360m.
Currently, Ocean Tankers owns 82 vessels composed of 14 VLCC, 1 Suezmax tanker, 14 Aframax tankers, 6 Panamax tankers, 22 MR tankers, 4 chemical tankers, and 21 general-purpose tankers.
Damen Schelde, part of Damen Shipyards Group, has officially secured a contract to design and build Australia's new icebreaker worth AU$529m (US$403m).
Australian company DMS Maritime Pty is to project manage the overall ship design and building process, and after that operate and maintain the icebreaker from its home port of Hobart.
The Australian government expects the cost of the entire project to hit AU$1.9bn, including the vessel's 30-year operations and maintenance costs. The project is said to be the single biggest investment in the history of the Australian Antarctic program.
The contract signing follows the recently unveiled Australian Antarctic Strategy and 20-year Action Plan by the Ministry of the Environment.
The new icebreaker will be used for the resupply of Australia's Antarctic research stations and to lead scientific expeditions, according to the government.
In addition, the vessel is said to be faster, larger and stronger than the Australian Antarctic program's current icebreaker, Aurora Australis, and offers increased endurance and icebreaking capability.
The ship is scheduled for delivery in mid-2020.
Spanish state-owned shipyard Navantia embarked on constructing the first of four Suezmax tankers for compatriot ship manager Ibaizábal Group.
The 156,000ton ships will be built at Navantia's yards in the Bay of Cadiz, while some parts are scheduled for construction at the company's Ria de Ferrol site.
Featuring a length of 274 meters and a width of 48 meters, the first tanker, which will be chartered to the Spanish oil company Cepsa, is expected to join its owner late next year.
The deal for the four vessels was signed in July 2015 and includes an option for two more.
The new offshore installation vessel of the Jan De Nul Group was christened by Her Majesty the Queen of Belgium in the Port of Ostend, which is the base camp for Jan de Nul Group's project team for the Bligh Bank Phase 2 project, better known as the Nobelwind project.
The vessel was given the name Vole au vent.
The Vole au vent, which is 140 metres long and has a Liebherr crane on deck, was acquired by Jan De Nul group in 2015, aiming to be a partner in the offshore wind energy industry.
It is one of the largest vessels of its kind in the world as its large clear deck space, high loading capacity and the lifting capacity of 1,400 tonnes allow it to install the heaviest foundations and components of offshore wind farms.
The vessel is equipped with four spud poles so that it can be jacked up above water and work safely and unaffected by wave impact. The Vole au vent can install all types of foundations and the latest generation of wind turbines at sea up to a water depth of 50 metres.
The vessel has been specifically built for the execution of offshore wind projects, but is also deployable for other offshore industries such as oil & gas.
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings' (NCLH) brand Oceania Cruises added to its fleet the newest cruise ship Sirena, holding a christening ceremony at the Port of Barcelona.
The company purchased the ship formerly-named Ocean Princess from Princess Cruises in 2014. Upon its delivery in March 2016, the ship underwent a 35-day, US$40m refurbishment in Marseille, France and has now been renamed to Sirena.
Scheduled for May 2, Serena's first voyage starts in Rome and lasts 9 days until reaching Venice.
The cruise ship's refit is part of the company's large refurbishment program, following its three sister ships that underwent a multimillion-dollar transformation. The refurbishment of the three mid-size cruise ships, Regatta, Nautica and Insignia was completed in 2014.
Featuring a length of 593.7 feet and a width of 83.5 feet, the ship has a gross tonnage of 30,277t.
Sirena has an accommodation space for 664 persons and 400 crew members.