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The SCFI climbed for the second successive week led by strong rate gains on the Asia-Europe route that are likely to hold through December on stronger capacity utilisation backed by the traditional year end cargo demand. Transpacific rates are on weaker ground with the disruptions on the Panama Canal failing to keep rates steady to the East Coast. THE Alliance carriers are paying a heavy price after failing to secure priority passage and have been forced to divert all 3 of their Panama all-water services to avoid lengthy delays at the Canal.

The Panama disruptions, along with more backhaul Asia-Europe and USEC routings via the Cape of Good Hope are helping to partially mitigate the incessant new vessel deliveries with the run rate maintained at over 200,000 teu a month, even after taking into account the deletion of older ships from scrapping. Charter rates continue to slip especially for the smaller sizes below 4,000 teu, but larger ships are holding steady with limited open tonnage available.

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Aging containership fleet has not driven an increase in vessel scrapping
The average age of the containership fleet currently stands at 13.8 years, although it drops to 11.1 years if calculated on a teu-weighted basis due to younger age of the larger ships. Amongst the Top 15 carriers, MSC has the oldest fleet with an average age of 16.8 years while Maersk has the oldest fleet on teu-weighted terms at 12.8 years. Despite the aging fleet, carriers have been slow in scrapping their older tonnage, with just 163,000 teu scrapped year to date compared to new deliveries that have reached 2,088,200 teu. The average age of the scrapped fleet in 2023 is 27.3 years – this number will need to be brought down for the scrapping rate to increase in 2024 (see page 3).

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