Taiwanese carrier Evergreen is to place orders for 20 3,000 teu container ships, vice group chairman Bronson Hsieh told a shareholders’ conference on 17 June.
The orders will expand its Asian services by 20%, he said.
South Korea’s Hyundai Mipo Dockyard, Japan’s Imabari Shipbuilding, and CSBC Corporation, Taiwan are in the running for this order worth USD700 million (USD35 million per ship). CSBS is expected to obtain the orders for 14 of the 20 ships.
Evergreen is optimistic about the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RECP), an initiative to link the 10 ASEAN member states and the group’s free-trade agreement partners, Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, and South Korea.
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The carrier believes that the RECP, which includes a combined population of more than three billion, a combined GDP of about USD17 trillion, as well as some 40% of world trade, will remove trade barriers and bring in more shipping demands within Asia.
Hsieh pointed out that African service would also have great potential in future and Evergreen planned to expand its network there.
Freight rates of Asia-Europe services have dropped 6% year on year in the first quarter of 2015. However, the rates might return to normal when it entered the traditional peak season in the third quarter if cargo volume increased, Hsieh said.
The carrier expects to see revenue and profit growth in 2015.