Graphic shows ups and downs of containership capacity since 2009-10 financial crisis.
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Containership fleet hit by pandemic

By Duncan Mil

May 11, 2020 - The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted global shipping, with falling demand leaving a record three million containers idle – some 12.9 per cent of the worldwide fleet.

More than 250 schedules sailings have been withdrawn by container lines in the second quarter of 2020 due to the pandemic hitting demand, says the maritime analyst Alphaliner.

The 2016 collapse of Hanjin Shipping and the fallout from the 2009 global financial crisis pale in comparison to the scale of removed capacity by carriers in response to the pandemic.

In percentage terms, the inactive fleet during the financial crisis was 11.7 per cent of capacity. At that time the total fleet capacity was 13.02 million TEUs -- 20-foot equivalent units -- compared with 23.23 million TEUs today.

When Hanjin Shipping, the world’s seventh-largest container line, declared bankruptcy it resulted in 1.59 million TEUs taken out of service. That was 7.6 per cent of the world’s 21-million container fleet.

Before the pandemic, the global container shipping fleet was on target to grow by 3.5% in 2020, hitting 24.05 million TEUs says Alphaliner.

PUBLISHED: 11/05/2020; STORY: Graphic News; PICTURES: Getty Images
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