Evergreen Marine Corp (長榮海運), the nation’s largest container shipping company, is ready to welcome the high season next quarter with the delivery of the first of 10 vessels that form part of its fleet expansion.
The container shipping arm of Evergreen Group (長榮集團) yesterday accepted delivery of an L-type vessel with capacity of 8,508 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) — christened Ever Living (長旺輪) — from the nation’s only shipbuilder, CSBC Corp, Taiwan (台灣國際造船).
It is the first of 10 container ships Evergreen Group ordered in May 2011, with the nine other vessels scheduled to be delivered through May 2015, the company said in a statement.
The ship will join Evergreen Marine’s fleet plying the Far East-Europe route on Friday next week, the statement said.
“Demand in the container shipping industry this quarter has been strong,” Evergreen Marine president Anchor Chang (張正鏞) told reporters before the naming ceremony for the vessel, citing the Shanghai Containerized Freight Index — a reliable indicator of the trend in freight rates — showing a solid and steady increase since late June.
The Transpacific Stabilization Agreement’s plan to raise its freight rates next month is another indication of container shippers’ optimism about market conditions, especially for long-haul routes, Chang said.
In addition, Evergreen Marine is set to implement a rate restoration program for its Far East and Indian subcontinent to Europe and the Mediterranean region by US$450 per TEU, or by US$900 per forty-foot equivalent unit (FEU), effective Sept. 1.
Following the gradual recovery in demand for container shipping, Evergreen Marine is also ready to take delivery of more vessels larger than 8,000 TEUs.
The company launched its fleet upgrade plan in 2011, aiming to introduce 30 L-type vessels, as well as chartering ten 13,800-TEU mega vessels and five 8,800-TEU container ships, with all the 45 new vessels scheduled to be delivered in succession until the middle of 2015.
Chang said the company has its own strategy in seeking an appropriate timing to build up its fleet, which may help save costs and raise its competitiveness.
The new vessels are expected to help the company save up to 15 to 20 percent in fuel consumption compared with older, same-type vessels, Chang added.
However, Credit Suisse analyst Timothy Ross maintained a conservative outlook on Evergreen Marine’s business for this year, saying the company’s cost gains may not get past the revenue equation, which continues to deteriorate.
The brokerage house said Evergreen Marine might still post a loss this year, before returning to the black next year.
Evergreen Marine reported consolidated losses of NT$2.24 billion (US$74.53 million), or a loss of NT$0.64 per share, in the first half of the year, compared with NT$2.35 billion, or a loss of NT$0.68 per share, recorded a year earlier, the company’s stock exchange filing showed.