Second-Hand Panamax Prices Hit Bottom

Extremely poor demand for second-hand Panamax ships of 4,000 TEU has brought asset prices to the floor for that ship type and size. According to, second-hand prices are down by 26% to 38% since the beginning of the year. This can be compared to positive developments in prices for all ships of a larger size, BIMCO said.

“We have seen a strong individual “commitment” to mitigate the supply side impact from the liner companies during the last 2-3 years. Nevertheless, developments during the past two months have derailed this somewhat. The fleet has grown by 4.9% in the year so far, and is on track to grow faster this year than in 2013 on an annualized basis. The demolition of non-competitive ships, which has been brisk in the first seven months, has cooled down promptly in August/September from a monthly average of 43,618 TEU in the months of January to July to a monthly average of just 14,569 TEU in the most recent two months. This indicates that demolition going forward may not be as strong as it has been this year and the year before. Year-to-date scrapping now amounts to 335,000 TEU,” the association explained.

According to BIMCO, ships with a combined capacity of 254,000 TEU have been ordered in the past six weeks. Of these, 15 are ultra large container ships in the region of 13,780-19,200 TEU and 12 are small feeders, with an average size of 1,327 TEU.

In spite of the recent ordering flurry, year-to-date contracting activity amounts to 828,000 TEU; a significant improvement to the full year new orderings of 2013 at 2.1 million TEU.

The recent months have seen several postponements of delivery, including 10 ULCS originally scheduled for delivery in 2014 that have been postponed to 2015.

This has reduced the market pressure from newbuildings delivered this year further – still high, but eased by the impressive demolition activity.

Looking ahead, BIMCO estimates a four-year-high fleet growth level for 2015, as long as the delivery of newbuildings keeps surging while demolition is set to ease off.

Press Release, October 15, 2014