Alphaliner: Low Bunker Prices Prompt Increased Sailing Speeds, Detours as Idle Box Fleet Soars to "All-Time High"

Alphaliner this week has reported that the idle container ship fleet reached a new record high of 1.57 million TEU at the beginning of March, beating the previous record of 1.52 million TEU at the end of 2009.
Alphaliner said the current low bunker price environment was working against carriers as it has "prompted shipping lines to increase average sailing speeds again, further worsening the vessel over-supply situation," as opposed to previous years where they had turned to slow steaming to save costs.
However, what low bunker prices have enabled carriers to do is divert away from either the Suez or Panama Canals (and their tolls) to the longer route by the Cape of Good Hope.
In January, an analysis by BIMCO said that lower bunker prices are no benefit to box carriers in an industry in which the demand side is growing at sluggish levels compared to the supply side jumping by a massive 8.1 percent in 2015.

(Ship&Bunker)