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THE world’s idle containership fleet is expected to expand over the next few months, as carriers lay-up ships over the winter season, according to the Shipping Gazette.

The Gazette quoted Alphaliner saying that idle fleet currently stood at 225,000 TEU, compared with 1.5 million TEU in January, but this is likely to rise to between 600,000 TEU and one million TEU by the end of December.

The Paris-based agency said: “Although not a single carrier has confirmed its winter schedule yet, the withdrawal of some capacity is already being planned. Such moves will be required to bring supply and demand into balance, as demand trends show signs of weakening after the past nine-month surge.

“The decline of the idle containership fleet looks certain to be reversed in the next few weeks, as seasonal volume reductions are due, especially on the Asia-Europe trade where some 10% of the ships deployed could be removed.”

The report said most ships to be laid-up will be larger than 3,000 TEU.

The reduction in the size of the idle fleet over the past eight months has been due to service re-activations and the introduction of new services. Around 320,000 TEU has been absorbed through extra-slow-steaming. This is despite 1.21 million TEU of new vessels being delivered so far this year. – Source: Shipping Gazette

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