Container ship deliveries in the first two months of 2024 have set a new record in capacity terms, says Clarksons.

February saw 18 container ships with a combined 145,000-teu capacity delivered, taking year-to-date deliveries to 67 units totalling 449,000 teu.

Clarksons said deliveries for the full year are projected to reach an all-time record of 2.7m teu.

The shipbroker estimates that a further 2m teu of containership capacity is due for delivery in both 2025 and 2026 — both double the 2019 to 2022 average.

Chinese yards have been responsible for most deliveries this year, accounting for 68% of boxship capacity delivered between January and February.

Shipyards in South Korea and Japan were a distant second and third, respectively, accounting for 28% and just 4% of deliveries, according to Clarksons.

February was another quiet month in the container ship newbuilding market, with just three vessels with a combined capacity of 18,000 teu confirmed ordered.

“CMB.Tech’s container division, Delphis, ordered a 1,400-teu ice-class unit at Qingdao Yangfan, which is notably set to be ammonia dual-fuel capable,” Clarksons said.

“Elsewhere, clients of Danaos ordered two methanol-ready 8,258-teu container ships at Jiangsu New Yangzijiang bringing their series of vessels on order at the yard to four.”

Clarksons said container ship orders in the first two months of 2024 have been “fairly limited” at $2.5bn, down 24% on the 2023 full-year run rate.

Investment has been focused on ships in the 12,000 to 17,000-teu size segment, representing 76% of total container ship newbuilding investment so far this year, the broker said.

“Newbuild prices remained elevated in February, with our overall container ship newbuild price index standing at 112 points,” Clarksons said.

“The benchmark price for an LNG dual-fuel capable 15,500-teu unit held steady at $195m, while the benchmark price for an equivalent 23,000-teu vessel also held steady at $265m.”

Clarksons said February was an “exceptionally quiet month” in the container ship recycling market, with just a single 2,480-teu vessel reported sold for scrap.

This brings the year-to-date total to just eight units of 14,000-teu, down 49% year on year.

“Activity was again subdued in the recycling market more broadly in February. Firm shipping market conditions in several sectors are supporting rates and secondhand prices, even for older vessels, while demand for tonnage from Indian recyclers was fairly limited,” Clarksons said.

“Recycling volumes are projected to increase moderately in 2024 after a number of quieter years, although ongoing Red Sea disruption is limiting scrapping amid elevated freight rates,” the broker added.