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Carriers double container ship orders in 2021 as freight demand shows no signs of slowing

Ocean carriers have doubled orders for container ships this year as a result of their healthy bottoms lines and a lack of tonnage to meet strong demand, according to BIMCO.

Dive Brief:

  • Ocean carriers have doubled orders for container ships this year as a result of their healthy bottoms lines and a lack of tonnage to meet strong demand, according to BIMCO.
  • "619 container ships are now on order for future delivery. Of those, 381 have been ordered in 2021 alone and never has 3.44m TEU been ordered in such a short time span," according to BIMCO Analyst Peter Sand.
  • This comes as bottlenecks build up along the supply chain, from raw materials to container ships, which is expected to continue throughout the holiday season.

Dive Insight:

The increase in vessel purchases comes at a time when carriers are experiencing a lack of tonnage to meet demand. Ocean carriers are responding to market needs, they need more space and equipment to transport goods.

"By procuring more vessels it further increases deployed capacity which is already close to 100% across trade lanes, and up 30% compared to 2019 levels," Nathan Strang, Flexport senior trade lane manager of ocean operations, said in an email.

But the 619 container ships orders still do not solve the immediate problem of current supply chain congestion as it will take years for the final delivery of the new vessels.

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