[Updated] Maersk Announces 11 Ultra-large Container Vessel Deal

Maersk Signing Ceremony

Published Jun 2, 2015 10:12 AM by The Maritime Executive

Today, Maersk Line signed a 1.8 billion new building contract for eleven second generation Triple-E container ships, which will be the largest vessels in Maersk’s fleet.

The agreement for the 19,630 TEU ships was made with long-time business associate Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) of South Korea and includes an optional provision for six additional vessels. The agreement was signed Tuesday by Mr Sung-Leep Jung, President and CEO of DSME, and Mr Søren Skou, CEO of Maersk Line, at a ceremony at Maersk Line’s headquarters in Copenhagen.

In May there were reports of the pending deal, however Maersk declined commenting on what it called ‘rumors’ at the time. 

This is the second new-building order in Maersk Line’s investment program, following the seven 3,600 TEU feeder vessels announced earlier this year. Over the coming five years, Maersk Line is planning to invest USD 15 billion in new-buildings, retrofitting, containers and other equipment. Maersk Line will thereby be able to maintain the necessary capacity to grow with global demand as well as replace less efficient tonnage.

The new vessels are intended for Maersk’s Asia – Europe service and will replace the smaller, less efficient vessels currently in service.

Maersk Line has worked extensively with DSME in the past. Maersk Line ordered 20 of the first generation Triple-E vessels also from Daewoo, with deliveries beginning in July 2013 and the final one due this month.

“I am very happy with this order. These vessels will help us stay competitive in the Asia – Europe trade and will be key in our strategy to grow with the market. It is the second order this year and we expect to order more vessels, which we can add to our fleet from 2017 and onwards,” says Søren Toft, Chief Operating Officer (COO) in Maersk Line.

The 11 vessels will have a length of approximately 400 meters (m), width of 58.6m, and a 16.5m draft and are set to join Maersk Line’s fleet between April 2017 and May 2018. They will sail under Danish flag. 

“I am very confident placing this order with DSME. The company has a very good track record. Together we can leverage our Triple-E experiences to further improve performance, not least energy efficiency,” says Søren Toft.

DSME and Maersk Line are working on amplifying the features of the Triple-E vessels (efficiency, economy of scale and environmentally improved) in the new vessels.

Currently Maersk owns 255 vessels and has an order book for new vessels corresponding to 13% of the company’s total fleet. 

The order was placed despite freight rates hitting multi-year lows due to overcapacity in the industry.

But big shipping companies are ordering increasingly larger vessels to supersede smaller ones, which will make their fleets more efficient while keeping up with the modest growth in global trade in the coming years.