In its half-year review of the container shipping market, analysts at Alphaliner say they have detected the advent of a two-tier market, split between healthier big boxships and struggling smaller vessels.
The cellular containership fleet reached 22.7m teu as at July 1 2019, for a year-on-year growth of 3.7%.
Slowing demand growth has weighed heavily on the market’s overall performance, Alphaliner in its mid-year report. Alphaliner’s charter rate index is down 14% year-on-year.
“In this context, a two-tier market has gradually emerged since the start of 2019, where larger ships – above 6,000 teu – commanded steadily rising rates, while the smaller vessel sizes have lost ground,” Alphaliner stated in its most recent report.
The looming IMO 2020 sulphur rule deadline has spurred demand for larger ships to fill sailing gaps caused by tonnage removed from the market to undergo scrubber retrofits, Alphaliner pointed out.