Maersk Line CEO has outlined plans to invest $3 billion a year for up to five years on new ships, many of which could be of a similar size to the 18,270teu Triple-E vessels (pictured in build). Maersk Line CEO Soren Skou said that the line would need the equivalent of 425,000teu of new capacity between 2017 and 2019 in order to grow with the market.

He said: ‘Over the next three years, the bulk of the capacity we will be buying is going to be big ships that may include Triple-E size. Five years from now, it won’t be possible to be competitive with a 9,000 to 10,000TEU container ships operating in the Asia-Europe trade loop.’

The 425,000TEU total capacity could represent about 30 ships of 14,000TEU, and the annual investment would cover the ships, retrofits and include containers. Industry consultants Alphaliner forecast that Maersk Line could lose its title as the world’s largest container line in 2016 to Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC). The lines are to partner each other in the newly formed 2M Alliance from early 2015, in a deal which Maersk says will save the company about $350 million a year.

Maersk has recently put out for tender a US$550 million order for ten new feeder vessels designed to run on low sulphur fuel in emission control areas (ECA), covering the Baltic, North Sea and English Channel. The ships are understood to be ice-strengthened and have capacities of around 3,400TEU, with delivery due by 2017. AM

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