Norwegian box ship owner doubles down on scrubbers
After announcing firm orders for five scrubber systems in mid-November, MPC Container Ships (MPC) has announced that it has exercised options to equip an additional five vessels and that charters for six scrubber-retrofitted vessels have been agreed. The charterparties will be initiated after scrubber retrofitting and have a duration extending into 2022.
MPC’s first order of five scrubbers included an option to equip a further 50 vessels so the new order leaves the company with 10 confirmed installations and a further 45 options for its fleet of 69 vessels. The company said that it is seeking to take advantage of the options in its scrubber programme by meticulously analysing further retrofits on a vessel by vessel basis. In this context, it is already in dialogue with various liner companies on further scrubber-linked employment concepts.
The company said that the charter agreements were concluded at favourable rates and are expected to yield attractive returns for the company. The scrubber investments are expected to be financed with cash on hand and available debt capacity on the Company’s existing fleet.
CEO Constantin Baack commented in relation to the announcement, "We are excited to have concluded charters for six scrubber-retrofitted vessels in our fleet. The transaction adds charter coverage at attractive rates and provides significant upside potential post 1 January 2020. Equally important, the transaction demonstrates an increasing interest from liner companies for scrubber-linked charters and MPC Container Ships is well-positioned to become a preferred partner for charterers through the platform and the flexibility it has to offer to its customers."
MPC was founded in early 2017 and by a series of acquisitions of vessels has rapidly become the largest operator of feeder container ships with a fleet of vessels having a combined capacity in excess of 134,000teu.