During February and March some significant vessels were delivered to a number of container lines, with a number of companies receiving their first Ultra Large container vessels and new records being set.

On 28 February the christening ceremony for Cosco Belgium was held at Nantong Cosco KHI Ship Engineering Co Ltd (NACKS). Cosco Belgium is the first in a series of eight vessels for Chinese giant COSCON, all of which are due for delivery during 2013 and 2014. Delivery of the ship marks a milestone in Chinese shipbuilding. Measuring 366m by 51.2m and with a capacity of 13,386teu, Cosco Belgium is the largest container vessel to be constructed by a Chinese yard.

The NACKS shipyard is a joint venture between the Chinese giant COSCON and Japanese shipbuilder Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd (KHI). Delivery of the vessel is seen by Cosco as marking the end of a monopoly of mainly South Korean shipyards in the building of ultra large container ships. Cosco Belgium will be deployed on COSCON’s North Europe Express 3 service operated with K Line, Yang Ming and Hanjin and she was due to make her maiden call at Felixstowe in April.

Another new container ship made her European debut on 1 March, when NYK Helios arrived in Southampton. She is the first in a series of ten vessels being constructed by Samsung Heavy Industries for OOCL, five of which have been chartered to NYK. The vessels measure 366m by 48m and have a capacity of 13,208teu. NYK Helios is quite distinctive in having OOCL’s grey hull with NYK’s livery and funnel colours. She has been deployed on the G6 alliance’s loop 4 Far East service and will be followed by the third vessel in the series, OOCL Berlin. The second vessel in the series, OOCL Brussels, had to return to the shipyard due to a main engine failure shortly after delivery. AM

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