Thursday, March 5, 2015

Container Ships Continue to Grow Ever Larger as Shipping Lines Speculate on Freight Demand

Economy of Scale Remain the Buzzwords for Box Cargo Carriers
Shipping News Feature

SOUTH KOREA – JAPAN – DENMARK – Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL) has signed a deal for the construction and chartering of six 20,150 TEU containerships, the largest ships in terms of capacity currently on order, an announcement that marginally overshadows that of Maersk Line’s, which has announced that it will, for the first time since 2011, place an order for a new series of ships, expected to be between only 18,000 and 19,000 TEU, such is the size of the container shipping industry’s new orders, that we can precede 18,000 TEU with ‘only’ and Maersk tend to use a different system from any other carrier to define carrying capacity.

MOL has ordered four of its new vessels from Korean shipbuilder, Samsung Heavy Industries in a deal worth approximately $620 million, whilst the box freight line has also signed an MOU for an all Japanese affair, for the long-term chartering of the other two containerships with Shoei Kisen Kaisha, to be built at Imabari Shipbuilding. Classification of the four largest newbuilds will be undertaken by Lloyds Register. These six vessels, which will be launched and delivered in 2017, will serve the Asia-Europe service.

The 20,150 TEU series order is currently the largest in the world when it comes to capacity, surpassing a recent order announced by Imabari, for eleven 20,000 TEU vessels to be delivered to a still unnamed end user (now increasingly likely to be Evergreen with previous speculation having been MOL or the Taiwan based line). Those 20,000 TEU vessels also now look unlikely to become the largest containerships to ply the trade routes, with the first vessel scheduled to be completed by 2018 the new MOL ships will likely take that title.

In common with every major carrier MOL’s newbuild vessels will adopt various highly advanced energy-saving technologies, which will further reduce fuel consumption and cost, in comparison with the 14,000 TEU types that MOL currently operates. The main engines have specifications which enable LNG use as fuel in the future remodelling. All six vessels will measure 400 metres in length and nearly 59 metres wide – Samsung’s will measure 58.8m and Imabari’s 58.5m.

Over to Maersk Line when last week, CEO Soren Skou said that the company needed to increase capacity by over 425,000 containers from 2017 onwards for three years. He added that a purchase order for the ships will most likely be signed in the second quarter of 2015, probably for more of the Triple- E series which started the whole upsizing revolution.