ANALYSTS at London's Drewry Maritime Research say scrapping less than 6,000-TEUer has little effect on easing the overcapacity plaguing the industry.
What must happen, they say, is that younger and bigger ships must be scrapped to remove capacity from the market as more to mega ships appear.
This year has seen the rate of scrapping fall dramatically to 47 vessels for a combined 87,500 TEU, less than half of what was scrapped last year.
The number of scrapped vessels this year is likely to be the lowest since 2011, equivalent 10 per cent of the newbuildings added to the fleet.
Today, the global fleet is fast approaching the 20-million-TEU mark with the rapid influx of mega ships.
Owners have been reluctant to scrap older ships because prices are poor and there has been some renewed demand for panamax ships.
This results from new regional services in Asia, and diverting cargo away from congested US west coast ports to avoid labour difficulties.
There are 40 ships above 4,000 TEU that are currently older than 20 years, meaning that most scrapping candidates will be 2,000-TEU or less.
But panamaxes will become prime candidates for scrapping after the expanded Panama Canal opens to allow passage of 13,000-TEUers, reports Port Technology International.
If all ships aged 20 years and above were demolished the global cellular fleet would shrink by 750,000 TEU or four per cent.
But that would not affect utilisation on the embattled Asia-Europe trades wouldn't budge more than one per cent.
Drewry's view is that scrapping will pick up slightly next year, but unless owners demolish younger and bigger ships overcapacity is here to stay, along with weak freight rates that squeeze profitability.
Source : HKSG.