Two more shipping lines are to follow Denmark’s Maersk Line and join the 18,000TEU owners’ club. At the end of April China Shipping Container Line (CSCL) announced an order for five 18,400teu vessels, which it later confirmed would be built by Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) at their shipyard in Ulsan, as the orders will be placed through a Hong Kong subsidiary.

The deal marks the first time CSCL and Hyundai Heavy Industries have cooperated on a new vessel order. CSCL has so far ordered most of its new vessels from South Korea’s Samsung as well as various other Chinese yards. The vessels will be delivered between January and May 2015

Since CSCL’s announcement, the Kuwaiti-based United Arab Shipping Company has announced that it is considering ordering five 18,000teu vessels and is in discussion with a number of yards. The line has not confirmed which shipyard will win the order, but someone close to the deal has confirmed that ‘the South Korean yards have been initially shortlisted for the UASC order’. This will include Daewoo SB & Marine Engineering, which is currently building Maersk Line’s Triple-E vessels. Samsung, Hyundai and STX all have 18,000teu designs ready to order. UASC has confirmed that its five vessels will form the basis of a new Europe-Far East service, which will be run in cooperation with CSCL. The lines have been increasing their cooperation on various trades lanes recently.

Articles in the media about these orders described them as Triple-E vessels, but Maersk’s Triple-E design was the result of close cooperation between Maersk Line and DSME, while the CSCL and UASC vessels could be of a different design. CSCL has opted for a conventional single engine design.

Industry analysts estimate the cost for each ship to be in the region of US$130 million to US$140 million, making the vessels US$45 million less costly than Maersk’s Triple-E design. This is partly due to reduced shipbuilding costs since Maersk placed its order in 2011 and also due to the extra environmental innovations that helped push up the price of the Maersk vessels. AM

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