Just six container ships were sold for recycling in 2022, as historically high freight rates saw demolitions sink to a 17-year low.

Alphaliner’s latest report released today (25 January) stated that the six scrapped vessels totalled just 10,600 TEUs.

Boxship demolitions in 2022 were lower than the 16,500 TEUs scrapped in 2021, and a drastic decline from the nearly 200,000 TEUs recycled in 2020. Recycling of container ships peaked in 2016 and 2017 when respectively, 655,000 TEUs and 417,000 TEUs were torched.

Alphaliner said, “The main reason for the demolition lull in 2022 was the highly remunerative charter and freight markets which until the summer prompted both non-operating owners (and liner operators to keep trading their older vessels and steer clear of the recycling scene, despite attractive demolition prices.”

Boxship scrapping did not gain pace until September 2022, when the correction in freight levels became more pronounced.

No container ships were sold for recycling from January to August of 2022, with the exception of the 1973-built 1,727 TEU Matsonia, a Jones Act container ro-ro vessel, that had to be recycled in the United States.

Alphaliner continued, “However, the fall in freight tariffs, which gathered pace during the summer, the collapse in charter rates in September and rising uncertainties regarding the new 2023 carbon regulations changed the momentum, prompting owners to look again at the demolition market for their older tonnage.”

The very first scrap sale confirmed in 2022 was Regional Container Lines’ 1990-built 1,248 TEU Mathu Bhum, which was sold in September of the last year. The Thai carrier sold a sister ship, 1993-built Xetha Bhum, the following month. Three 1990s-built feeder vessels from various owners subsequently joined the demolition wave in November 2022, and December 2022 saw the scrap sale of the largest container vessel of the year, Euroseas’ 5,608 TEU Akinada Bridge.

Source : Container News