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Idle container fleet sky-rockets

Global – Some 400% more container ships in the 500 TEU-plus range were laid up at the end of July 2012 when compared to the close of the same month last year, reports Alphaliner. Hardest hit were non-operating owners whose share of lay-ups was 79% in TEU terms and 82% in terms of the number of ships. Only one in five of the lay-ups were carrier-controlled as more carriers download surplus tonnage on ship lessors.

Some 216 idle vessels aggregated to 467 000 TEU at the end of July this year versus 75 ships totalling 115 000 TEU exactly 12 months earlier, according to Alphaliner.
The idle fleet has been gradually increasing in size since the beginning of July. The pattern is markedly different from the past two years when the idle fleet only started to increase in August and September. Carriers are cutting back capacity much earlier due to weak cargo demand especially in the Euro-zone area, with the expected peak season cargo demand failing to materialise, says Alphaliner.
 

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