Moeller-Maersk and 407 other shipping lines increased their capacity to move containers 14 percent in 2006, the fastest pace in six years, as trade expanded, data from Containerisation International showed.
Capacity at the world's shipping lines rose to 11.31 million 20-foot containers in 2006, based on numbers posted on Containerisation International's Web site. The capacity increase was the biggest since the industry information provider started compiling the data in July 1999. Hyundai Heavy Industries and other South Korean shipyards have received record orders in the last three years, prompted by expanded global trade and increased demand to explore and transport oil and gas. Global trade is forecast to grow 7.6 percent in 2007, the International Monetary Fund said. "Cargo will grow, but capacity will grow a bit faster," this year, said Peter Hilton, an analyst at Credit Suisse in Hong Kong. "There's a lot of talk about pushing rates up. Supply and demand imbalance makes that a bit questionable." Maersk, Mediterranean Shipping and other sea carriers have been charging less to move cargo since the second half of 2005 as a record number of new vessels are delivered. The equivalent of about 38 percent of the current container ship fleet is on order, according to Containerisation International. Shipyards in South Korea, which won almost half of the global orders last year, have a record US$90.3 billion worth of vessels on backlog. Capacity at China Ocean Shipping's container shipping unit, Cosco Container Lines, increased 26 percent last year to 390,354 boxes, overtaking Evergreen Marine to become the biggest Asian container shipping line, based on Containerisation International's data. the capacity of Evergreen, based in Taiwan, increased nine percent to 377,334 boxes. China Shipping Container Lines's fleet size rose 15 percent to 387,168 boxes last year. Hanjin Shipping, the biggest South Korean shipping line, increased 8.7 percent to 337,378 containers. Nippon Yusen, the largest Japanese shipping line, expanded its capability 11 percent to 283,109 last year. Neptune Orient Lines's container unit increased its capacity by 5.9 percent to 342,461 boxes. Buenos Aires Herald