Container orderbook breaks more records

The giant containership orderbook – equivalent to the extant fleets of Cosco, Hapag-Lloyd, Evergreen and Ocean Network Express (ONE) combined – is setting all manner of new records.

According to brokers Braemar ACM, as of May 1 this year the capacity on order as a percentage of the fleet has breached 30%, with 7.5m teu of capacity now on order.

The teu capacity on order is the highest ever recorded, according to Braemar ACM, and combined with record LNG orders over the past year helps explain why dry bulk and tanker owners are struggling to source prompt delivery slots at Asian yards at the moment. The last time that containership capacity on order represented 30% of the trading fleet was back in late 2011.

The 30% ratio is not an agreed upon figure with Clarksons, for instance, suggesting the number is actually 26.9% (see chart below). Alphaliner, meanwhile, had a 26.2% number as of mid-April, albeit analysts at the BRS-controlled container unit admit around 30% is entirely possible, once they have confirmed a number of reported orders.

Net fleet growth, in terms of teu capacity for 2022 is estimated by Braemar ACM to be in the region of 4%. For the years 2023 and 2024, the annual average net fleet growth is currently showing 10% a year.

For 2023, Braemar ACM now estimates a scheduled 2.5m teu of newbuilding deliveries are expected and the surge of deliveries accelerates in 2024.

In 2024 more than 3m teu of fresh capacity is expected to be delivered according to Braemar ACM, the largest annual volume of newbuilding deliveries ever recorded. Clarksons puts the 2024 delivery figure at a massive 3.5m teu, larger than the entire existent fleet of CMA CGM.

Mediterranean Shipping Co (MSC), the world’s largest containerline, with 1.33m teu on order, has the largest orderbook by some distance, equivalent to Maersk’s, CMA CGM’s and Cosco’s combined.

In Q4 2021 and Q1 2022 the share of “plain vanilla” fuel oil propulsion fell beneath 50% for the first time, recent analysis from Maritime Strategies International (MSI) shows. By far the greatest climber at fuel oil’s expense has been LNG dual-fuel ordering, with the share of methanol dual-fuel and methanol/ammonia ready orders still remaining limited.

“We expect incremental new orders will slow sharply after Q2 22, especially as downside demand risks continue to mount,” MSI stated in a recent report.

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. Time some container line directors talked to some pig farmers.

Back to top button