German shipping giant Hapag-Lloyd has sold three old ships for scrap for US$17.27 million, the 2,800TEU Mississauga Express, 2,992TEU Ottawa Express and the 2,330TEU Milan Express all built in the late 1990s.

Singapore’s Wirana Shipping Corp, which acquires old vessels for recycling, said the ships would be scrapped in Turkey and fetched a good scrap price due to the “good amount of spare parts” on the ice-class vessels.

Said Hapag-Lloyd CEO Rolf Habben Jansen: ‘We have a number of ships that are going to reach the end of their lifetime in the next 24 months, and the majority will go to the scrapyards’.

Vessel databases show the carrier has 22 other ships aged 20 years and older, ranging from 2,300 to 7,500 TEU.

Boxship demolitions have resumed since late 2022, after freight rates began correcting to pre-Covid levels, although the pace has been slower than expected.

Alphaliner said the sale of the three Hapag-Lloyd ships brings to 41 the number sold for demolition this year, for a total of 81,300 TEU.

Liner operators have been adding capacity as they fight for market share, while shipping analysts have suggested that cash accumulated in the pandemic years meant they don’t need to rush to scrap loss-making vessels.

According to Linerlytica, Hapag-Lloyd is the fifth-largest carrier, with a fleet of 251 vessels, of which 128 are chartered-in, for a capacity of 1.8 million TEU.

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It has an orderbook of 17 vessels, for 350,000 TEU including a dozen at 24,000-TEU for delivery over the next two years for the Alliance’s Asia-North Europe loops.

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