A new standard boxship type has emerged from nowhere in 2021. Alphaliner, in its latest weekly report, details the sudden growth of the compact 7,000 teu ship. After years of barely any orders of mid-sized container tonnage, 2021 has seen orders flood in, coalescing around the 7,000 teu size, a new workhorse design for the industry.
Alphaliner tallies 58 orders for 7,000 teu class ships so far this year, tonnage that will deliver from early 2023 through to early 2025.
“It is rare for the container liner market to witness the formation of an entirely new vessel class, but every once in a while newbuilt series of ships with comparable parameters gather sufficient momentum to develop into a new ‘standard’ type,” Alphaliner observed.
The new compact 7,000 teu class, while bearing no resemblance to the classic 5,000 teu panamax, could nevertheless be called the panamax type’s “spiritual successor”, Alphaliner suggested, serving both on lower-capacity deepsea mainlines, and on high-capacity regional and feeder services.
Further to this, the type could succeed many a first-generation vessel of the post-panamax 6,500 teu class.
“Essentially every trade route for which a panamax is ‘workable’ today could be serviced equally well – or even better – with a compact 7,000 teu ship. That is provided the route can use the 40% bump in nominal capacity,” Alphaliner posited, adding that its efficient use of space and excellent stability intake are strong selling points, especially as bunker consumption and carbon emissions are coming under ever greater scrutiny.
Using the classic 5,000 teu maxi-panamax as the baseline vessel, the new 7,000 teu ship type has a footprint that is only 20% larger while being at least 20 m shorter, according to Alphaliner data. Nevertheless, the new type can carry 40% more containers on a nominal basis and even 53% more on the basis of containers that weigh 14 tons per teu.