Yang Ming Marine Transport Corp (陽明海運), yesterday announced it would charter five container vessels measuring 14,000 20-foot equivalent units (TEU) from Seaspan Corp, following their delivery by CSBC Corp, Taiwan (台灣國際造船) in 2016.
The deal will mark the first time that CSBC — the nation’s biggest shipbuilder — accepts an order to build vessels larger than 10,000 TEUs. Yang Ming is set to take delivery of the five vessels between March and June 2016.
“The introduction of these 14,000-TEU vessels will mark the upgrade of the company’s fleet,” Yang Ming chairman Frank Lu (盧峰海) told a press conference.
Yang Ming, the nation’s second-largest container shipper in terms of fleet size, approved a plan in November 2011 to order mega-vessels to maintain its competitiveness in routes between the Far East and Europe.
The container shipper also decided to charter 15 14,000-TEU vessels from Seaspan — a Canada-based independent container ship owner.
Earlier this year, Seaspan inked an agreement with South Korean shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy Industries Co to purchase 10 of the 15 mega-vessels.
Five vessels are expected to be delivered between March and June next year, with the Canadian company holding the option rights for the remaining five.
Following the signing of the contract with CSBC, Seaspan also confirmed the order for the five optioned vessels from Hyundai Heavy Industries, which are scheduled to be delivered between June and September next year.
Lu said the introduction of the 15 mega-vessels into the market is unlikely to raise supply significantly, because Yang Ming is planning to retire 10 smaller container ships from its fleet in the near future.
The company has already decommissioned 15 vessels over the past few years, he added.
In addition, the new vessels may help cut the company’s fuel costs by US$220 per TEU from the less fuel-efficient 8,000-TEU vessels, Lu said.
The company chairman maintained the optimistic view that Yang Ming will return to the black in the second half of the year, in view of the freight rate increase on US routes implemented last month.
The shipper reported a net loss of NT$1.84 billion, or NT$0.53 per share, for the January-to-March quarter.
Meanwhile, the company plans to sell an additional 20 percent stake in Kao Ming Container Terminal Corp (高明貨櫃碼頭) — its container terminal subsidiary at Kaohsiung Harbor — after it completes the second phase of the terminal’s construction in September next year.