Inactive boxship fleet reaches lowest level

he inactive fleet’s peak this year came in early March when it reached 3.5 per cent of the total fleet.

Lloyd's list

Recent data by Lloyd’s listhas shown that the percentage of the containership fleet that is inactive has dropped to 1.7 per cent. This is the lowest level the inactive fleet has been since Lloyd’s List Intelligence records began in March 2012. The 1.7 per cent of inactive capacity represents 301,759 teu, or 253 ships. It contrasts with this time last year when 2.4 per cent of the containership fleet was inactive — representing 395,476 teu — and at the end of May, 2012, when 2.3 per cent of the boxship fleet, or 359,423 teu, was inactive. The inactive fleet’s peak this year came in early March when it reached 3.5 per cent of the total fleet. 

The number of ships not in use traditionally peaks around March before carriers begin to bring them back into service ahead of the ramp-up in volumes as the third quarter peak season approaches. For most of this year the inactive fleet has been below the level recorded in 2013, indicating improved demand conditions and reflecting the number of ships scrapped so far this year. Lloyd’s List Intelligence records show that first-quarter containership scrapping activity increased 30.3 per cent year on year to 160,649 teu. 

The decline in the capacity of boxships not in use was also noted by analyst Alphaliner, its records showing the idle fleet is at a 30-month low. “The fall was helped by the high scrapping rate, with over 250,000 teu deleted from the fleet so far this year,” it said. “Despite the delivery of 660,000 teu of new capacity this year, demand has picked up especially for the larger sizes, as carriers prepare for the summer peak season which will last until October. “The idle fleet is expected to continue to fall in the coming weeks, as almost all of the 10 currently idle ships of above 5,100 teu will return to active service.”