According to Clarkson's research, newbuilding orders for container ships reached 5.6 million TEU at the end of the third quarter, a new order record. Since the fourth quarter of 2020, this boom has emerged. Recently, there have been concerns in the market that these new ships will cause overcapacity when they are put into use. In view of this, the new order boom may fade.
Clarkson Research stated: “Due to the excellent performance of the container shipping market and extremely high market sentiment, investment in newbuildings has surged and hit a record. In September 2021, newbuilding vessels' orders in terms of TEU exceeded all previous years records."
In the end of September, newbuilding orders for 468 ships and 3.9 million TEU have been generated, exceeding the 2007 annual record of 3.3 million TEU. At present, Clarkson’s latest data shows that the number of container ship orders at the end of the third quarter has reached 5.6 million TEU, a year-on-year increase of 185%, more than twice the amount at the beginning of the year.
The current new order capacity is reported to be 23% of the fleet's existing capacity, peaking since April 2014. However, the current situation is relatively mild compared to 2000-2009. In 2008, this share was 61%.
Clarkson said large ships accounted for 75% of total new orders, occupying a dominant position. However, recent contracts show that there is also an increase in market demand for relatively small and handy vessels. Recently, the number of orders for medium-sized vessels has increased in the range from 12,000 TEU to 16,999 TEU, and as of the end of September the number of such orders increased to 89 vessels and 600,000 TEU, which is 10% of the total order.
Clarkson said: "In the wave of new container shipbuilding, shipowners and operating companies are very active. From the fourth quarter of 2020 to the third quarter of 2021, 48% of the contracts are signed by shipowners and 52% are signed by the operating company."