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Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Idled Box Fleet Shrinks

Wednesday, 03 June 2009

The fleet of idled container ships owned by ocean carriers is shrinking as unemployed vessels are brought back into service to handle the seasonal rise in cargo volumes. The idled carrier-owned fleet has fallen from a peak of 241 ships of 1.04 million TEUs in March to 199 vessels of 790,000 TEUs, according to ASX-Alphaliner, the Paris-based consultant.
"Carriers have started to re-activate some of the idle ships as the summer peak season begins and also redelivering surplus tonnage to owners upon charter expiry," ASX says.
But some carriers continue to have a very high percentage of their fleet unemployed, led by Malaysia's MISC which has idled 28 percent of its capacity. Zim, the Israeli carrier, has taken out 20 percent of its capacity and APL has withdrawn 19 percent of its fleet.
A few carriers have hardly adjusted their capacity despite the slump in container traffic since the second half of 2008. France's CMA-CGM and Germany's Hapag-Lloyd, the world's third and fifth largest carriers, had not reduced their working fleet by May 25, while second ranked Geneva-based MSC has trimmed capacity by just one percent, according to AXS.
Maersk Line, the world's biggest carrier, has temporarily laid up six percent of its owned fleet, or just over 120,000 TEUs.
The top 22 carriers have idled 6.6 percent of their operated fleet, equivalent to 728,000 TEUs.
The collective cost of idling these ships is around $4 million a day, AXS estimates.
Charter owners have idled 322 ships, taking the total unemployed fleet to 521 ships of 1.3 million TEUs, or 10.2 percent of total capacity. The idled fleet peaked at 484 ships of 1.41 million TEUs, or 11.3 percent of global capacity, in mid-March.
The jobless fleet includes seven vessels between 7,500 and 10,000 TEUs and 49 of 5,000 to 7,500 TEUs. There are 146 ships of 1,000 to 2,000 TEUs without work, most operated by charter ship-owners.
Source: Journal of Commerce