Thursday, September 25, 2014

More Giant Container Vessels on the Horizon

Maersk Ready to Put its Faith in More and Bigger Vessels
Shipping News Feature

DENMARK – At its recent capital markets day, Maersk Line revealed that it plans to invest in its first new orders for vessels since 2011 when the Danish company bought its Triple E series. These new potential additions to Maersk Line’s order book could see the company keep its title as the world’s largest container shipping line after a report tipped Swiss firm and 2M partner, MSC to overtake Maersk Line in terms of TEU spaces by 2016. Though not announcing any details about the planned vessels themselves, CEO Søren Skou said:

“We are growing with the market with investment decisions we made back in 2011. Where we are now is that by 2017 we need new capacity and we need to make investment decisions about that in the next year. We need, due to our size, 425,000 TEU to be delivered in 2017 through to 2019, equal to about thirty 14,000 TEU ships and we have an investment plan in Maersk Line which is around $3 billion per year, on average, for the next five years. That’s covering the ship, the retrofits, and of course, the containers, some IT and some other stuff.

“We’ll be investing in big ships that means ships that are larger than 10,000 TEU. We believe that there is a well-populated and liquid charter market for ships of 10,000 TEU and smaller and we’ll make use of that wherever we can.”

Skou also added that with the new stricter regulations in Sulphur Emission Control Areas (ECA) which will affect North America and North Europe trade, the future vessels could make use of scrubber technology and LNG technology in order to find a workable solution to achieve the stricter sulphur targets but Skou was keen to point out that the company’s main investment will be in the larger ships.

To some of us it seems but a little time ago that we saw over capacity in the market leaving huge numbers of vessels, over 10% of the world’s fleet, laid up everywhere from the Thai coast to Scottish Lochs but it seems many at the head of the industry are prepared for a brighter future. What is sure however is that the larger firms, such as Maersk, will utilise that ‘well-populated and liquid charter market’ in a manner which suits their longer term plans whilst the larger craft continue to work on the most popular routes no matter the economic climate.

Photo: Only four years ago many deep water moorings around the globe were home to idle vessels.