Lured by attractive ship building prices and the strength of last year's market recovery, containership owners have ordered 1.6 million twenty-foot equivalent units (Mteu) of new capacity since June 2010, outstripping the deliveries recorded in the previous period, which reached 1.4 Mteu, according to Alphaliner.
This rapid rise in ordering activity in the last twelve months has brought back concerns of over-capacity in the container shipping markets, with the level of deliveries in 2013 likely to hit a new record.
With all 2011 and most of 2012 delivery slots currently booked, attention no turns to 2013 slots.
Scheduled deliveries for 2013 have surged from 380,000 teu a year ago to 1,590,000 teu today and there is still some available shipyard capacity for 2013 deliveries.
If all current options, letters of intent and intended orders were exercised, 2013 vessel deliveries could exceed 2 Mteu. This would mark the highest-ever annual level of containership newbuilding.
Alphaliner cites Maersk's ten 'EEE'-class 18,000 teu ships, which are the largest units planned for delivery in 2013. Options for 20 additional vessels of the same size have yet to be exercised for 2014-15 delivery.
Furthermore, Evergreen has committed to 35 ships of 8,800 teu (including five chartered units ordered by Costamare), of which 22 are earmarked for delivery in 2013.
Other carriers and non-operating owners have joined or are planning to join the new capacity race.