New Ice Class Container Ships Aimed at European Short Sea Freight Market

DENMARK – CHINA – Maersk Line has signed a new building order with COSCO Shipyard in Zhoushan, China, for seven 3,600 TEU ice class container vessels measuring 200 metres long by 35.2 metres wide, with a 10 metre draft. This order, aiming at the European short sea freight sector, marks the first step in Maersk’s recently announced investment programme, which will see the world’s biggest container shipping line in terms of capacity, try and maintain its global ranking and fend off competition from its 2M partner, Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC).

Over the next five years, Maersk Line will invest $15 billion in vessel new building, retrofitting programmes, containers, and other equipment. Maersk Line says it will be able to add capacity in line with growth in global container shipping demand, as well as replace less efficient chartered tonnage. Maersk has ordered these vessels, its first order since 2011’s Triple E series, for Seago Line, its fully-owned container shipping line dedicated to short sea services in Europe and throughout the Mediterranean region. The ships will be delivered in April through to November 2017. The order includes an option for two additional vessels to be declared within eight months.

The vessels will be built to trade in Northern Europe through sea ice, deployed specifically in the Baltic and North Sea Regions. They will replace several container vessels, half the size or less of the new buildings. In an effort to comply fully with the recently enforced Emission Control Area in Northern Europe, the vessels will sail on marine gas oil (MGO). Søren Toft, COO in Maersk Line, said:

“I am very happy to announce this new order and the first in our investment programme. Our strategy is to grow with the market and to do so we need new vessels from 2017. We expect to place additional orders during 2015. I am very confident that COSCO Shipyard, with their solid shipbuilding experience and a good track record will deliver high quality and fuel efficient vessels.”

Source: Handy Shipping Guide