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Idle boxship fleet grows as SCFI rates near all-time low

Idle boxship fleet grows as SCFI rates near all-time low
The idle containership fleet continues to grow in size as lines fight crumbling rates.

According Alphaliner’s weekly newsletter the idle boxship fleet has increased by 90,000 teu over a two-week period to hit 673,000 teu, or 3.4% of the global fleet on 21 September.

However, the increased idle fleet is largely a zero sum game and while 455,000 teu in capacity has been added to the idle fleet over three months 480,000 teu of new capacity has also been delivered since the start of July.

The supply side pressure is reflected in the Shanghai Containerised Freight Index (SCFI) which fell 8.2% to 572 points last week, just short of its all time low of 549 points. SCFI spot rates from Shanghai to North Europe have fallen 68% since the start of the year.

As some larger vessels are being idled with 14 units in the 8,500 – 14,000 teu range idle.

Alphaliner noted, “However, the carriers appear reluctant to lay up large vessels for long periods. Most of the carrier-controlled unemployed ships are only idled for one or two rotation cycles. Despite this, prospects remain very weak for the remainder of the year, with more ships bound to join the ranks of the unemployed soon.”