German container line Hapag-Lloyd plans to bring a new string of 10,500 teu container vessels to the East Coast South America (ECSA) trades by 2017.
The Hamburg-based carrier today announced the signing of a newbuilding contract for five such vessels with Korean builder Hyundai Samho Heavy Industries for delivery between October 2016 and May 2017.
The ships will be optimised for carrying perishables commodities like fruit, vegetables, fish, and meat, with 2,100 reefer plugs and a novel lashing and loading configuration, the company said.
They will be operated on South America services, Hapag-Lloyd said, without specifying whether it would be the ECSA-North Europe or the ECSA-Far East route. The ship prices were not disclosed.
Shipbrokers are assessing newbuilding prices for the more popular, slightly smaller 9,200 TEU class at around USD90million in Korea.
The fleet upgrade is part of Hapag-Lloyd’s strategy to maintain a leading role in the Latin America trades following its merger with CSAV, said the company’s chief operating officer, Anthony Firmin, in a press release.