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Boxship orderbook now larger than both the tanker and bulker orderbooks in dwt for the first time

The incredibly skewed global orderbook continues to throw up all manner of records, with long-term ramifications for the main shipping segments.

Ordering in the bulker and tanker sectors, which together account for 75% of world fleet dwt capacity, has been limited in the 2020s, so much so that the containership orderbook is now larger than both the tanker and bulker orderbooks in dwt for the first time, according to data from Clarkson Research Services.

Close to 900 containerships of 7m teu have now been ordered since Q4 2020, an all-time record high, whilst LNG carrier contracting so far this year has already risen to a new annual record with Clarksons tallying 94 ships of 16m cu m.

In contrast, the last 12 months have represented the quietest period for tanker newbuild contracting on record, according to Clarksons. At 35m dwt, the tanker orderbook is now the smallest it has been for 25 years, and equal to a record low 5% of fleet capacity.

The bulker orderbook now stands at close to an 18-year low of 69m dwt, equivalent to just 7% of the fleet.

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.


  1. This would be a good time for containership owners to be afraid. Possibly very afraid.

    1. Agree.

      The all too late exuberance for what WAS freight rate and cargo volume growth, is already cooling off.

      There is NOTHING being done politically in the USA to even attempt to change what citizens see on the horizon; a doomed economy. For months if not years to come.

      People are saving what little money they have left.

      Why owners are trying to build up the size of their box fleets now, is pure speculation. I don’t see it. Are we headed to overcapacity … again?

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