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  • Writer's pictureJeremy Conradie.

Surge in Container Ship Orders 'Will Ease Red Sea Crisis'

Gartner and Moodys say pandemic-fuelled spike in container ship orders will ease Red Sea supply chain chaos for major sea shipping lines

In a fortuitous twist of fate, the lingering impact of the global pandemic is set to ease supply chain problems caused by ongoing disruption caused by Red Sea attacks on commercial shipping.

During the pandemic, the massive spike in world trade fuelled a huge increase in demand for new container vessels from the major carriers. 

Those ships, ordered up to three years ago, are now entering service, and are set to help beleaguered shipping companies maintain regular service, as the Red Sea situation forces vessels to travel longer distances, around the African Cape.

There’s a lot of available capacity out there, in ports and ships and containers.” - Brian Whitlock(Gartner Senior Director & Analyst)

According to figures from The Baltic and International Maritime Council (BIMCO), in 2023 global shipyards delivered 350 new containerships that have a total capacity of 2.2 million TEU. (TEU stands for Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit, and is a unit of measurement for cargo capacity for container ships and terminals.)

This beats the previous record, set in 2015 when new vessels meant an extra 1.7 million TEU was delivered. 

BIMCO says that in 2024, a total of 478 container ships – with a capacity of 3.1mn TEU – are scheduled for delivery. This is 41% more than in 2023, and means global container fleet capacity will grow by 10% in 2024, BIMCO’s Chief Shipping Analyst Niels Rasmussen has said.

The effects of the Red Sea attacks on global trade have been outlined in a new report from The UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

Its report, ‘Navigating Troubled Waters’, looks at the impact on global trade of sea shipping disruption caused not only by the Red Sea attacks, but also the ongoing drought affecting the Panama Canal and the effects of the war in Ukraine on Black Sea oil and grain trade markets.

UNCTAD says Suez Canal transits have fallen by 42% compared to its peak, with weekly container ship transits falling by 67%, and container carrying capacity, tanker transits, and gas carriers also seeing significant declines. 

Total transits through the Panama Canal plummeted by 49% compared to its peak.

The report says that ships avoiding the Suez and the Panama Canals is translating into longer cargo travel distances, and rising trade costs and insurance premiums. 

Source: Supplychaindigital

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