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Trade slows but containership orberbook remains strong

This blog is an exert from the most recent Shipbuilding and Fleet Forecast by Maritime Insight.

The latest GDP and trade report from the OECD acknowledged that 2023 got off to a better-than-expected start, supported by lower energy prices and the reopening of China. Now they expect the global growth to moderate due to the impact of tighter monetary policies and the fading recovery in China.

OECD also reported that trade volumes have risen more slowly than the GDP in the first half of 2023, especially in the major advanced economies with the trade in goods falling by 2.5% in the 1H23.

The Chinese Renminbi has dropped in value all through the year. This has taken down Chinese imports, which is bad news for the 40 countries around the globe for which China is the largest export destination.

Dynamar has calculated the carryings by the container operators in 2022 to 176M teu, 7.3M teu less than in 2021. The largest carrier was Cosco ahead of Maersk and MSC. Closely behind were CMA-CGM, Hapag-Lloyd and ONE. Together they had 66% of the total carryings.

The container fleet stands at 26.4M teu spread on 5,630 ships which gives an average size of 4,700teu. The 8.7M teu strong orderbook is spread on 997 ships giving an average size of 8,700teu, ie upscaling continues.

The 250 ship orderbook of vehicle carriers with a capacity of 1.9M ceu is exceptionally large. In September 2023 the fleet stands at 4.25M ceu, which means that the orderbook is 45% of the capacity.

Looking at the current total orderbook expressed in GW engine power and split by type of fuel it is striking that the share of LNG is as high as 27% of the total GW and for methanol it is 5%. The share of the live fleet is a mere 3% for the two combined. Much of the LNG and methanol are for the future propulsion of container carriers and vehicle roro ships.


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