Danish container shipping major Maersk Line has exercised an option for the construction of two 15, 200 TEU containerships at Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI).
The options date back to a contract signed in 2015 for the construction of nine 15,200 TEU boxships plus eight additional ships of the same size.
The two ships will be delivered in the second half of 2019, the company said in its Annual Report for 2017.
As explained, the company lifted the two options in the fourth quarter of 2017 as new tonnage is needed to meet increased demand. The move has also been attributed to the ongoing network optimisations.
The order comes as a surprise to the market especially on the back of Maersk Line’s repeated statements that it doesn’t plan to order any new ships in the future.
“While our preferred way of growing the fleet is through investments in second-hand tonnage, this also includes reviewing the market for container vessels – large and small, new and chartered. The H-class vessels represent a unique segment not available in the second-hand market,” Maersk Line spokesperson told World Maritime News in a statement.
“We are very happy with our H-class vessels. They add operational flexibility and economies of scale in certain of our trades and represent a segment not available in the second hand and charter markets. They will replace older, less efficient tonnage as we continue to manage our capacity tightly. With close to 30 pct of our chartered fleet on short-term contracts we have the needed flexibility to adjust our capacity to the market developments,” Peter Lund, Head of Chartering, Maersk Line, said.
In 2017, Maersk Line took delivery of five second-generation Triple-E’s and four 15.2k TEU vessels, which had been ordered in 2015.
The new vessels have replaced their older, less efficient counterparts, and have seen Maersk Line
recycle 16 vessels in 2017.
Out of 27 ships Maersk Line ordered in 2015, 18 vessels remain to be delivered by the first quarter of 2019.
World Maritime News Staff