Orders for car and truck carriers hit $14bn – highest since 2008

Orders for car and truck carriers hit $14bn – highest since 2008

The Load Star — 2023-06-22

Maritime and Ports

Pure car and truck carrier newbuilding orders total an estimated $14bn since 2020, the highest since the global financial crisis in 2008, according to Clarksons’ latest report, issued yesterday.

The Covid-19 period saw many PCTCs scrapped and few built, as working from home depressed vehicle demand – in 2020, just four PCTCs were commissioned.

But now rising Chinese car exports, up 58% year on year in Q1 23, to 1.07m, are powering the recovery in PCTC demand. China is now the world’s third-largest vehicle exporter, behind Japan and Europe. Particularly, there are more shipments to Europe and the Americas, and global tonne-mile trade grew 12% 2023.

The PCTC shortage has caused daily charter rates to soar to a record high of $110,000, and shipowners and carmakers, particularly those in China, are rushing to build vessels.

Last year, 90 PCTCs, totalling 560,000 car-equivalent units (ceu) were ordered, nearly tripling the 38 commissioned in 2021. So far in 2023, 33 have been commissioned, according to S&P Global.

On June 19, 2023, Dubai-based Sallaum Lines announced it had ordered four 7,400-car unit PCTCs at China Merchants Jinling Shipyard, at $90m each with options for two more. Delivery will start in March 2026.

The Sallaum group also carries new cars for vehicle manufacturers and, in January 2022, won a contract to ship for BMW and Ford from Durban, South Africa, to Europe. The group started operations with second-hand PCTCs and ordered its first newbuildings in November 2022 for two 7,500 ceu ships from Fujian Mawei Shipbuilding for delivery in 2025.