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Booming box ship deliveries takes shine off charter rates

Booming box ship deliveries takes shine off charter rates

London: The supply of post panamax container ships, which operate almost exclusively on Asia's export trades to the US and Europe, increased by a staggering 31.8% in 2006, according to figures just released by London broker Clarkson. And now analysts are carefully watching Asian export trends - particularly out of China - and the possible effects on American and European consumers of a wobbly dollar, higher energy prices and rising interest rates. Charter rates fell for all sizes of fully cellular vessels during 2006, Clarkson figures show, with earnings down by 20-40% compared with the previous year. "It has been the onset of deliveries from the mammoth orderbook which has brought the sector back to reality," Clarkson comments, "and it would be unwise to ignore the fact that the containership orderbook remains extremely substantial." The firm's statistics reveal that container ships on order grew in 2006 - from 4.23m teu to 4.51m teu although this represented a fall from 52% to 48% in terms of prevailing fleet capacity.  [16/01/07]

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