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April 2024

COVID pandemic wiped 24.6 million TEU off container market growth

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the global container market grew only 1.5% from 171.0 million TEU in 2019 to 173.5 million TEU in 2023. Without the pandemic, that figure would have been 24.6 million higher, landing at 198.1 million in 2023.

EU tanker import tonne mile demand up 12% as ships avoid Red Sea area

In 2023, sanctions on Russian oil exports by the EU caused a major shift in tanker trades and a 10% increase in average sailing distances for EU tanker imports. Now, attacks on ships in the Red Sea area have caused average sailing distances to increase a further 16% and tonne mile demand to increase 12% despite falling volumes.

Demand shocks drive ship recycling to lowest level in 20 years

Over the past eight quarters, ship recycling of bulkers, tankers and container ships has dropped to the lowest level in 20 years. A combination of strong demand following a series of market shocks and low orderbooks have kept older ships operating for longer than usual.

March 2024

13% of world seaborne trade under attack from Houthis and Somali pirates

Houthi attacks on ships in the Red Sea, coupled with a rise in piracy off the coast of Somalia, are disrupting global trade. In 2023 an estimated 13% of global seaborne trade transited through these areas. However, the attacks have reduced the number of ships transiting the area by 50%.

Ships above 12,000 TEU drive 100% increase in average ship size

Since 2006, the average container ship has doubled in size to 4,580 TEU and ships with a capacity of more than 12,000 TEU has accounted for 51% of the fleet’s capacity expansion. Today, just 626 ships provide 36% of the fleet’s capacity, and the trend is set to continue as the large ships dominate the order book.

Crude tanker newbuild contracting jumps 490% as VLCC orders gain pace

In the first two months of 2024, crude tanker newbuild contracting surged to 7.4 m DWT, a 490% leap y/y, due to a rise in orders for very large crude carriers – VLCCs. A notable 19 VLCCs were ordered, already surpassing the number of orders for this ship type during all of 2023.

February 2024

Cargo volumes in Red Sea area drop 21% due to attacks on ships

During the first seven weeks of 2024, cargo volumes to and from ports in the Gulf of Aden and Red Sea declined 21% y/y. The number of ships arriving in these ports significantly declined as merchant shipping increasingly avoided transiting through the region due to concerns over attacks on ships by the Houthis.

Russian coal shipments fall 14% as sanctions bite

During the first seven weeks of 2024, Russian coal shipments have fallen 14% y/y. Volumes have gradually declined since October 2023 when logistical challenges started to emerge. Two years after the start of the war in Ukraine, sanctions on Russia are limiting the country’s ability to export coal.

Oil production and Chinese buying boost Brazil’s crude tanker exports 19%

The reshaping of global crude tanker markets continued in 2023. In 2022, sanctions shifted Russia’s exports from Europe to Asia while OPEC production cuts in 2023 increased the Americas’ share of exports. Brazil’s oil production increased by 12% year-on-year in 2023 while crude tanker exports rose 19%.

Container market grows a modest 0.2% y/y in 2023 as the fleet swells

In 2023, the container market grew 0.2% year-on-year, ending at 173.8 million TEU. Compared to 2019, before the COVID pandemic hit, the market grew 1.5%. Container market growth has lagged behind overall economic development significantly, as the world economy has grown 10% since 2019.