Mega-Ship Frenzy Afoot?


Following the recent announcement that Evergreen Line had signed a charter agreement for the order of eleven 20,000 TEU Ultra Large Container Vessels (ULCVs), the total sum of active ships, as well as those on order, has now passed the one million TEU mark, with many shipping lines following suit.

According to recent insight from Drewry Shipping Consultants, the 18,000-TEU-plus club was formed by Maersk Line when it ordered the first group of 10 Triple-E class ships in February 2011, which it followed in June of the same year with an order for 10 more.

Four years after Maersk’s initial order, Evergreen has now become the fifth member to order ships in this TEU ‘mega’ range.

Drewry expects future ULCV orders to be placed according to shipping alliance needs rather than meeting individual lines’ requirements.

This approach is expected to spread the benefits across the alliance members and at the same time it will act to prevent the industry being flooded with far too much capacity.

Having made the first move, Maersk has no such ships due beyond 2015 and is expected to want to extend its advantage with another order soon. PTI recently reported that Maersk could be in line to spend as much as $1.5 billion on a new selection of supersize mega ships.

The Evergreen order represents the only 18-20,000 TEU size ships for the CKYHE Alliance, for which they will have to wait at least three years.

The next biggest orders are 30 x 14,000 TEU units for COSCO, Evergreen and Yang Ming.

Drewry believes that the carriers who do not make a move to order ULCVs now will struggle with higher slot costs and lower their competitiveness in the near future.

(Source: The Loadstar)

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