New ships to improve fleet competitiveness
OOCL 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 at a cost of $155.68 million with a nominal capacity of 23000 TEU. Delivery is estimated to begin in the year 2023.
These five new buildings are part of their ongoing program to introduce large, modern, and fuel-efficient vessels to further strengthen their fleet competitiveness as well as fleet rebalancing by increasing the proportion of the ships they own 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 21000 TEU. 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. However, this addition to the original order has never happened thus far, first because of the terrible market conditions of 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 23000 TEU vessels is indeed this long-awaited second step, and is consistent with our strategic plan for further growth. OOCL will have the potential to independently form a complete loop in the Asia-Europe trade, where they intend to deploy them in order to strengthen OOCL’s overall competitive position in the market and improve services to customers. Balancing this expansion, over the next five years they plan to return or dispose of 13 vessels from our fleet, a total of around 76000 TEU, after successful long-term service in our group.