The volume of secondhand containership sales reported in the first eight months of 2017 totalled 0.75 million TEU, exceeding the previous annual record level of 0.64 million TEU set in 2015.
According to Clarksons Research, a new monthly record was set in March 2017 which witnessed some 40% of the full year 2016 sales capacity total.
In TEU capacity terms, reported containership secondhand sales in the first eight months of 2017 increased by over 60% on the full year 2016 total. While the volume of sales in some boxship sectors remained fairly steady this year so far, there has been a significant increase in the volume of 3-8,000 TEU vessels sold secondhand.
A number of factors have helped drive containership sale and purchase volumes to record levels. The opening of the new locks at the Panama Canal has led to old Panamaxes becoming surplus to their owners’ requirements, while the financial collapse of South Korean liner company Hanjin Shipping also provided the sale and purchase market with impetus.
The distress facing many KG-financed assets in Germany has also supported the activity in recent years, with 53% of capacity sold since start 2013 being sold by German owners.
Meanwhile, the growing maturity of the containership sector as a whole has supported the evolution of a more liquid sale and purchase market, and of course the rapid growth of the boxship fleet up to the 20 million TEU mark “has also helped”.
“If the rate of sales activity recorded in the first eight months continues for the rest of the year, the volume of boxship sales will get close to 6% of the start year fleet,” Clarksons said.
This compares to an annual average of less than 3% in 2000-16, and puts the boxship sale and purchase market in closer comparison to its bulker and tanker counterparts.
“So it’s taken a couple of decades, but the containership sector has finally attained a volume of sale and purchase activity of which to be proud. Records they say, are there to be broken, and in 2017 containership sales volume is one that’s already in the books.”