January 26 - More than one in twenty containerships are likely to be laid up in February as a result of significant declines in box traffic, taking significant capacity from the market.

Paris-based maritime consultancy AXS-Alphaliner reports that some 255 ships, the equivalent of 675,000 teu or 5.50f the global containership fleet, were laid up in January and projects that total capacity mothballed will rise to 750,000 teu in February - six percent of global box ships.


Heavy lift providers, those operating multi-purpose vessels (MPV) with tweendecks, are concerned that box lines, driven by declining teu traffic, will go after high and heavy and project cargo shipments to protect their income.


It was reported last month that Maersk is to remove eight container ships from service, while rivals Mediterranean Shipping Co and CMA CGM, the world's number two and three container lines, have cut several routes linking Europe and Asia. Other cutbacks include CSAV's Asia-North Europe service, one of MOL-"K" Line's Far East-West Coast South America loops, and MOL's Far East-South Africa service.


These cutbacks contributed to the 90 ships that AXS-Alphaliner says have became idle since the middle of December