Friday, September 6, 2013

World's Fourth Largest Container Shipping Line Aims Lower in Terms of TEU

New Materials Used in Vessel's Construction Will Come Under Scrutiny in Light of MOL Sinking
Shipping News Feature

TAIWAN – WORLDWIDE – While other amongst the world’s major container shipping lines are in a battle to provide ever bigger box carriers the Evergreen Group has contented itself with a more conservative approach, choosing to order ten, locally built vessels, each with a capacity of around 8,500 TEU, compared to other companies policies such as the CMA CGM’s 16,000 TEU Explorer class and Maersk Line’s Triple E series (18,000 TEU) both from Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine, UASC’s latest order (some at 14,000 and five at 18,400 TEU) and CSCL’s May commitment (also five at 18,400) with both these last two orders coming from the Hyundai yards, like Daewoo, situated in Korea.

Competition amongst the world's shipyards has never been fiercer with China and other Far Eastern countries taking an ever increasing share. The new Evergreen Line ships are being constructed by the CSBC Corporation in Taiwan which first built box ships for Evergreen back in 1977, and the first of the order, the Ever Living, was named recently at a ceremony at CSBC’s Kaohsiung shipyard officiated by Mr S.S. Lin, First Vice Group Chairman of Evergreen Group whilst the official rope-cutting of the new 8,508-TEU vessel was performed by Dr Jih-Chu Lee, Chairperson of Taiwan Financial Holdings and Bank of Taiwan and witnessed by assorted local and international dignitaries.

The contract to construct the vessels was signed in May 2011 and was the biggest ever such order for CSBC, and with the hull composition incorporating a new, high tensile steel (HT47) jointly developed by the shipbuilder and China Steel Corporation in Taiwan. The makers say that the special metal enables the ship to achieve the same structural strength with less material. The consequential reduction in lighter weight means the vessel requires less propulsion, saves energy and produces lower carbon emissions.

The same claims of course were made for the MOL Comfort and her eleven sister ships, with a capacity of 8,110 TEU equivalent in size to the Evergreen vessels, all also built (in 2008) using a new high grade steel (also meaning a thinner hull structure) and now subject to investigation after the containership broke in half in rough seas in June this year.

In July however Evergreen says the sea trials of Ever Living revealed excellent performances, confirming that CSBC's quality and technologies can keep pace with other leading shipbuilding companies. The new hull and overall design was tested by the Hamburg Ship Model Basin (HSVA) revealed a speed 0.7 knot faster than the average value experienced by the Institute and a 0.45 knot higher speed compared to the expected performance of the optimised design. Given the same engine specification and operated at an identical speed, the hull design can achieve reduced fuel consumption of more than 10%.

Evergreen operates the fourth largest container line in the world and the Ever Living is 334.8 metres in length, 45.8 metres wide, with 948 reefer plugs and a draft of 14.2 metres capable of cruising at a speed up to 24.5 knots. The ship, owned by Evergreen Marine (Singapore) Pte Ltd, joined Evergreen Line's Far East - Europe route after her delivery on August 30. Whilst the larger vessels can prove to be more reliable simply because of economy of scale and simultaneously demonstrate lower emissions, fuel use etc. this is entirely dependent on running them at near capacity to optimise performance.

Also the problem of accessibility arise, the Port of Antwerp announced this week that it was now prepared to cope with the outsized Triple E series but Maersk announced in July that it accepted the ships would initially have to run below capacity in order to access many of the world’s ports, not a problem the new Taiwanese ships will face.

Photo: Naming the Ever Living in Taiwan.