Sudden megamax buying binge sees boxship orderbook to fleet ratio nudge past 10%

A total of 25 giant megamax containerships were ordered in Q4 last year, nudging the boxship orderbook to fleet ratio into double-digit territory for the first time in a long time, according to data from Alphaliner.

The 673,500 teu Q4 ordering rally was the highest intake of new containership orders for five years. Of the 673,500 teu ordered, 591,000 teu were for megamaxes in the 23,000 to 24,200 teu range. Between October 1 and December 31 orders were placed by OOCL, Hapag-Lloyd, Chinese banks for MSC and Shoei Kisen for Ocean Network Express (ONE).

The orderbook to fleet ratio now stands at just over 10% with 2.4m teu on order versus an extant fleet of 23.91m teu.

Also of note in the latest Alphaliner issue is the fact that interest for the first generation of megamaxes – the 23 row across variant – has cooled. Between June 2013 and October 2019, a total of 105 megamaxes of the 23-row across variant ranging in size from 18,000 teu to 21,000 teu were delivered. The orderbook for this category today stands at zero. All recent orders for new megamax vessels have been for the 24-row across model.

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 industry really is all boom or bust isn’t it? Everyone knows the current spike is temporary, everyone knows that a few years ago a massive proportion of the global fleet was parked up as there was no work for it, am i missing something here or is this pretty much guaranteed that in 5 years time rates will be rock bottom as supply of boxships and freight capacity is way ahead of demand?

  2. Remind us all again which one of your correspondents wrote an article last year that the ”End of Peak Container could now be confirmed”?
    I don’t like to be a Monday morning quarter-back but these predictions from correspondents and consultants (”2020 could see $ 5 billion of losses and bankruptcies for liner shipping companies” from a certain Danish consultant) really are not worth publication, let alone a subscription fee.

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