Sunday, November 28, 2010

Maersk to build even bigger container ships

Further to our post from 11 November, Maersk Line is in the final stages of negotiation with shipyards for a series of 18,000 teu container ships.

From Lloyd's List (26 November) -

Letters of intent could be signed before the end of the year. A considerable amount of design work still has to be completed, with several South Korean yards in the running for an order that could be worth close to $US 2 billion.

The ships would be of revolutionary design, with new propulsion systems and other technological advances that would considerably reduce slot costs and cut emissions.

Lloyd’s List disclosed in August that Maersk was preparing to order ships with a nominal intake of at least 16,000 teu.

Speculation flared again yesterday when Korea Economic Daily reported that South Korea’s Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering was lining up a 20-ship order with AP Moller-Maersk worth $4 billion.

A delegation from DSME is thought to be in Copenhagen this week, but a Maersk spokesman said the company had not placed an order with the yard. The Danish line would not comment on speculation about any future orders.

Reports that the two sides were in discussion about a $4bn contract appear to be wide of the mark, with the most likely outcome a 10-ship order initially with each ship costing somewhat less than $200 million apiece.

DSME has competition, though, with other shipbuilders also on the shortlist. All are thought to be from South Korea, with none from China.

Containership prices peaked at just over $170 million for a vessel of 14,000 teu nominal capacity in 2007, but have since fallen considerably.

The Danish line has made no secret of the fact that it is preparing a new building programme, but has given little away about the specification of ships it is after.

Maersk pioneered the super-sized container ship, with Emma Maersk the first of a new class of vessel, with a declared capacity of 12,500 teu. Eight sister ships, built by AP Moller-Maersk’s Odense shipyard, were delivered between 2006 and 2008. Other lines are only just catching up, with Mediterranean Shipping Company taking delivery this year of its first 14,000 teu ships, and CMA CGM now receiving its 13,800 teu new buildings.

Emma Maersk is 397 m long and 56.4 m wide, and the ships that Maersk is expected to order next would be bigger both in length and breadth since there would be limitations to container stack heights.

Engines on the new ships would probably be smaller than the 80,080 kw, 12-cylinder main engine on Emma Maersk. With slower service speeds expected to remain the norm, most ships in service today are considered to be over-powered.

The new buildings would almost certainly be earmarked for the Asia-Europe trades where Maersk’s sister company APM Terminals would be well-positioned to install a new generation of cranes at key facilities to handle these leviathans.

No comments: