Hong Kong-based container ship operator OOCL has announced that it has signed newbuilding contracts with shipyards Nantong COSCO KHI Ship Engineering Co., Ltd. (NACKS) and Dalian COSCO KHI Ship Engineering Co. Ltd. (DACKS) for five new container vessels, each costing $155.68 million and with a nominal capacity of 23,000teu. The vessels are expected to be delivered in 2023.
OOCL said in a statement that the five new buildings are part of its ongoing program to introduce large, modern, and fuel-efficient vessels to further strengthen its fleet competitiveness as well as fleet rebalancing by increasing the proportion of the ships it owns in the core fleet while a number of vessels leased under long-term charters will be returned to the owners.
Today, OOCL only has six G-Class mega-vessels, each with a capacity of approximately 21,000teu. These vessels were ordered in March 2015, as the first step in OOCL’s expansion into this class of mega vessels for the Asia-Europe trade. The original plan at that time was to have ordered a second batch of five to six mega vessels. This plan has been delayed due to market conditions in 2016, and then throughout 2017-2018 with focus being on the execution of the sale of the OOIL group to COSCO Shipping Holdings.
The announcement for this new order for 23,000teu vessels is the long-awaited second step, and is consistent with the company’s strategic plan for further growth. OOCL says it will have the potential to independently form a complete loop in the Asia-Europe trade where it intends to deploy them in order to strengthen OOCL’s overall competitive position in the market. Balancing this expansion, over the next five years OOCL plans to return or dispose of 13 vessels from its fleet, a total of around 76,000teu, after successful long-term service in our group.
Furthermore, these new vessels will help bring economies of scale to OOCL’s unit cost structure and enable the company to continue to play an influential role in offering more competitive and best-in-class services to customers. OOCL said that the latest engine technology and other state-of-the-art equipment will be used to achieve greater operational efficiency and reduce carbon emissions,