Maersk Line has signed a newbuilding order agreement with Cosco Shipyard in Zhoushan China.
The contract is for seven, 3,600 teu container vessels with a length of 200m, width of 35.2m and 10m draft.
According to Maersk, the order forms the first step of their current investment programme. The company has said it will spend $15 billion over the next five years to fund vessel newbuilding, retrofit programmes, containers and other equipment in an effort to add capacity in line with growth in the container shipping market and replace less efficient chartered tonnage.
“Our strategy is to grow with the market and to do so we need new vessels from 2017,” says Søren Toft, COO in Maersk Line. “We expect to place additional orders during 2015.”
The vessels have been ordered for Seago Line, a container shipping line focused on short-sea services in Europe and throughout the Mediterranean region.
Built to trade in Northern Europe through sea ice, Seago Line will deploy the vessels in the Baltic and North Sea regions. They will replace several container vessels, half the size or less of the new buildings. The vessels will sail on marine gas oil (MGO), and are therefore compliant with the SOx (sulphur oxides) emission limits, which went into force 1 January 2015, creating the ECA (Emission Control Area) zone in Northern Europe.
The seven units will be delivered between April and November 2017, and there is an option for two additional vessels to be declared within eight months.
This order is the first Maersk Line has placed with Cosco Shipyard. However, Maersk Group has worked with Cosco Shipbuilding Group previously, and Maersk Line uses the shipyard for vessel retrofits and dry docking.