Yang Ming Marine Transport Corp, the nation's second largest shipping company, unveiled its newest container ship which has a loading capacity of 8,204 twenty-feet equivalent units (TEU) at the Port of Kaohsiung yesterday.
In 2003, Yang Ming entrusted Hyundai with the task of manufacturing four container vessels that have loading capacities of more than 8,200 TEU.
Hyundai started delivery of the new ships in 2005. The one unveiled in Kaohsiung yesterday was the last one of the four, having just arrived this week.
Construction of each ship cost the company NT$77.8 million (US$2.43 million), Yang Ming's chairman Huang Wang-hsiu(
By the time the first ship was delivered in 2005, its market price had soared to NT$120 million.
The fourth ship -- the Ultimate -- will mainly be deployed to transport goods to Europe.
Given its size, which roughly equals three-and-a-half soccer stadiums, it would be too big to operate on routes to the US, or trans-Pacific routes that pass through the Panama Canal.
Ultimate was touted as an environmentally friendly sea vessel. It is equipped with an alternative marine power system (ATP), which allows the ship to switch from an onboard power system and plug into the power supply on shore when the ship enters harbor.
The ship also has highly efficient core machines and power generators, which effectively reduce nitrogen oxide compound emissions.
Four radar systems are installed on the ship, with one of them installed on the mast at the ship's prow.
Equipped with an automatic navigation control system, only one person is needed to man the control room.In total, the crew consists of only 17 members serving in different capacities on board.
Should there be an accident, the ship's air guard system would be activated, with air, not lubricant, being used to prevent sea water from entering the machine room.
In addition to these four container ships, the company said it planned to place an order for five more 8,200 TEU container ships from China Shipbuilding Corp.
Huang also said yesterday that the company is still interested in participating in the development of the No. 6 Container Center at the Port of Kaohsiung this year.
The port hosted a bid for the construction of the container center last year, which was positioned as a build-operate-transfer (BOT) project.
The bid was called off at the last minute because Yang Ming was the only private company that showed interest.
"The operational cost at Kao-hsiung is only one third of that in Hong Kong," Huang said.
Huang said that the two docks it owns at the port are so far apart that transporting goods from one to the other is a hassle. Having one big container center could solve the problem, he added.
Yang Ming is a publicly listed company. The Ministry of Transportation and Communications is its largest shareholder with a stake of 36 percent.
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