Number of idle container ships hits all-time high

The number of idle container ships languishing empty around the world has reached an all-time high as supply continues to outstrip demand,  Alphaliner reported last week.  At the beginning of the month,  the information services calculates that there were 352 ships of more than 500 20-foot-equivalent unit capacity lying idle with a combined capacity of 1.57m TEUs, compared to 346 vessels with 1.43m TEUs two weeks earlier; but although this exceeds the previous peak of 1.52m TEUs reached at the end of 2009, it represents just 7.8% of the total fleet, compared with 11.7 % five years ago.
Unlike in recent years when carriers were able to absorb the impact of surplus capacity through extra-slow-steaming, the current low fuel price has prompted carriers to increase average sailing speeds, which is widening the gap between supply and demand.
“The subdued demand on the routes connecting Asia to Europe, Latin America and West Africa has strongly impacted the market because of the distances involved, which generate much more TEU-miles than short-haul routes,” Alphaliner says.

Source: joc