Alphaliner detects two-tier box shipping market

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.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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