ONE Plans Six World’s Largest Containerships

ONE plans six world's largest containerships
MOL Trust is one of the largest ships in the ONE Network - Kees Torn photo (Wikicommons CC BY-SA2)

Published Dec 24, 2020 2:10 PM by The Maritime Executive

Ocean Network Express (ONE) announced that it has signed a letter of intent that would lead to the construction of the world’s largest containerships. The vessels will have a capacity greater than 24,000 TEU, which would mean their maximum load would be 20 percent larger than the current largest vessels in the network.

ONE signed the agreement with Shoei Kisen Kaisha, a ship leasing business owned by Imabari Shipbuilding Co., for a total of six of the ultra large boxships planned for delivery in 2023 and 2024. The new ships will be built by a consortium of Imabari Shipbuilding Co. and Japan Marine United Corporation. They will operate under a 15-year charter to the network.

“This new class of ships will join our core fleet and forms part of our ongoing strategy to introduce large, modern, and fuel-efficient vessels to further strengthen our fleet competitiveness,” ONE said in announcing the agreement. 

The six new ULCS, with a capacity exceeding 24,000 TEU, ONE said would help bring economies of scale and significantly lower carbon emissions through a state-of-the-art hull design that aims to maximize cargo intake and minimize fuel consumption. The vessels will also be equipped with exhaust gas cleaning systems to meet the emissions regulations of the IMO.

Currently, the largest ships operating for ONE is Mitusi O.S.K. Lines’ Triumph class built in 2017 and 2018. That class of six ships is 210,000 DWT with a capacity of approximately 20,000 TEU. Those ships have a length of 1,312 feet.

ONE’s announcement followed a similar announcement from Hapag-Lloyd which reported that it has also ordered six ultra large containerships. Hapag confirmed that it has signed an order with the Korean shipyard Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) valued at approximately $1 billion for vessels that would each have a capacity of more than 23,500 TEU.

The shipping lines are apparently being a new series of one-upmanship to see who can claim the title of the world’s largest container ship. The HMM Algeciras introduced in April 2020 is currently considered to be the world's largest container ship with a nominal capacity of nearly 24,000 TEU, although her largest load to date was just under 20,000 TEU. Based on the strong recent demand in the container markets, the shipping lines believe that there is a strong opportunity and that these ultra large vessels can produce better financial results through economies of scale.