AP Moller-Maersk has returned to South Korean shipbuilder Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) for its latest series of ultra-large container ships (ULCS).
The new order calls for an initial six firm 20,000 teu vessels with options for a further four ships being attached to the contract. Booked for delivery during 2017, they are understood to have been priced at USD155 million per vessel. Both Hyundai HI and Samsung were also believed to be in the offing for this hotly contested contract.
The latest order follows similar moves made by Maersk’s rivals CMA CGM, Mitsui OSK Lines and OOCL in ordering vessels of 20,000 teu capacity this year.
The new Maersk order represents repeat business for DSME with the yard having won a well-publicised contract for 20 18,270 teu ‘Triple-E class’ box ships in 2011. The final three ships from this order are due to be delivered to Maersk within the next two months. DSME has also built previous series of ships for Maersk comprising 16 7,500 teu ships and four 8,000 teu vessels that were delivered between 2007 and 2013. DSME is presently building a drilling rig for the associated Maersk Drilling.
According to IHS Maritime newbuilding data, Maersk presently has a further seven box ship newbuildings in its orderbook. This comprises a new design of 3,600 teu vessels ordered in March this year at Cosco Zhoushan in China. They are due for delivery in 2017 and are destined for operation in Maersk’s feeder services in the Baltic Sea.
Other ocean carriers understood to be in the market for 20,000 teu plus class box ships are Cosco, Mediterranean Shipping Co (MSC), and Yangming.
MSC, Maersk’s 50:50 partner in the new 2M Alliance, is expected to order an initial four such vessels that are likely to be contracted at Hyundai HI in the near future. Meanwhile, Cosco and Yangming, both members of the CKYHE alliance, are expected to place orders for up to 11 ships each.