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Second-hand market turns from »hot« to »cold«

For the second year in a row, activity on the second-hand market has declined. 285 ships with just under 1 million TEU were bought and sold.

After a record year for second-hand deals in 2021, demand has fallen significantly. In the previous year, there were 324 ships with 1.07 million TEU – a decrease of 10%. Activity declined significantly in the second half of the year in particular. [ds_preview]

In an analysis, Alphaliner attributes the development to the enormous influx of newbuildings to the global container ship fleet and the numerous new orders as a result of the CII assessment issued by the IMO. The operation of older, smaller and less energy-efficient ships in particular is therefore potentially more expensive – which reduces their value and range of use.

Half as many second-hand deals compared to 2021

2021 was a record year with 598 units and a total capacity of 2.04 million TEU. At that time, all shipping companies had wanted to take advantage of the high market level and deploy every available ship.

In the meantime, the global fleet has also grown. As a result, the share of second-hand transactions in tonnage is also falling. In 2023, it was 3.5% of the total fleet compared to 4.2% in 2022 and 8.3% in 2021.

The particularly active liner shipping companies MSC and CMA CGM accounted for a third of all purchases. MSC alone took 48 ships with almost 220,000 TEU off the market in 2023. The Aponte company has acquired more than 330 ships since the start of its shopping spree in summer 2020.

Following the years 2021 and 2022, which were dominated by the coronavirus pandemic, ship prices continued to fall over the course of 2023 and reportedly lost 20%-30% of their value, depending on the type of ship.

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