LATEST statistics from shipbroker Braemar ACM show that the number of container vessels sent to breakers' yards so far this year will shortly eclipse the total demolished in 2015 in terms of TEU capacity, 2016 is already way ahead.
According to the latest data, the year-to-date figure is 72 vessels, 243,000 TEU, compared with 85 vessels for 187,500 TEU in the whole of last year, the London's Loadstar reported.
The surge in vessels sold for scrap 19 container vessels reported this month alone has helped to lower the idle tonnage fleet, notes industry consultant Alphaliner.
It said the number of ships in lay-up had fallen 28 per cent in TEU terms since early March, and as at 16 May stood at 269 vessels for 1.13 million TEU.
Alphaliner estimates that the full-year scrapping figure will exceed 450,000 TEU almost 2.5 times more than last year.
This is partly due to a pick-up in scrap rates over US$300 per ldt is now being achieved, compared with low $200s at certain points last year as well as the industry's need for a clear-out of unemployable panamax ships ahead of the opening of the expanded Panama Canal next month.
According to the data, of the 19 ships sold for scrap this month, five were panamax units of 4,200-4,800 TEU and four were over-panamax vessels of 5,300-6,500 TEU.
The current scrapping momentum is also bringing down the age that ships are sent for demolition, and so-called "teenagers" are now prime scrapping candidates.
According to Craig Jallal from vesselsvalue.com, the average scrapping age of all containerships during 2014 and 2015 was 22 years, and the average age for a post-panamax vessel was 19.5 years.
Source : HKSG.