Maersk Line signed a contract Monday for another 10 18,000 20-foot equivalent units containerships for the Asia-Europe trade, just four months after placing an initial $1.9 billion order for 10 of the world’s largest ships.
Confirmation of the orders, listed as options when Maersk roiled the shipping world with its order in February for ships that will set a new standard for ship size, will intensify pressure on other carriers to match Maersk's order to protect their market share and match the carrier's bid to change the economies of scale of shipping.
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The first 10 Tripe-E class vessels will be delivered in 2013-2014 and the second batch from South Korea’s Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering is due to join the Maersk fleet, the world’s largest, in 2014-2015.
The Maersk contract takes the value of container ship orders to more than $6 billion in June alone.
“We have 20 Triple Es on order,” said Maersk Line CEO Eivind Kolding. “They underline our strong commitment to the Asia-Europe trade and fit well with our current ambitions and expectations for the future development of the trade.”
The new ships “also give us a significant competitive advantage in the market,” Kolding said.
Maersk said it expects demand on the Asia-to-Europe trade to increase by five to eight percent annually through 2015 and the new vessels will enable it to meet increasing cargo growth and maintain its market share.
The 1,312-foot long ships will cut per container operating costs by 26 percent compared with the largest ship afloat, the 15,500 TEUs Emma Maersk class, according to Maersk.
Maersk claims the mega ships will consume approximately 35 percent less fuel per container than the 13,100 TEUs ships being delivered to other ocean carriers for deployment on the Asia-Europe route in next few years.
Copenhagen-based Maersk said it does not intend to exercise an option for 10 more sister ships by the end of December, but “will reserve its right to hold off on any final decision until the deadline.”
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