The Evergreen Group, which has been very cautious about adding vessel capacity in the last few years, said Friday it placed orders with Samsung Heavy Industries in Taipei for 10 container vessels with capacities of 8,000 20-foot equivalent container units.
The vessels on order are of the L-type class that incorporate technology designed to reduce their environmental impact.
Evergreen Line, which slipped to fifth place behind APL among the world’s largest container lines in terms of vessel capacity, had signaled in April that it was ready to order new ships when Evergreen Group Chairman Chang Yung-Fa said it would start negotiating orders with shipyards to build as many as 100 new container ships.
The first of the 10 vessels Evergreen ordered is due for delivery in 2012 and will join Evergreen Line’s global container ship fleet. The group said six of the new vessels will be built for Evergreen Marine and four for Evergreen International.
The 8,000-TEU ships are the size container ships that are expected to become the workhorses of the all-water services that will ply the route from Asia to the U.S. East Coast after the new locks under construction at the Panama Canal open in 2014.
The new ships will be constructed with the Greenship design concept developed by Chang nearly10 years ago and first introduced in 2003. The Greenship features have been built into every Evergreen Line vessel since then.
Evergreen said the L-type ships will ensure the carrier will meet its fleet reinforcement program, as well as provide replacement requirements.
With an overall length of 334.8 meters (1100 feet) and a beam of 45.8 meters (150 feet), the new ships will have cruising speed of 24.5 knots and fuel-saving technology.
The 10 ships are the beginning of a program of a new generation of container vessels that Evergreen Line will order from several shipbuilding yards in Asia.
Chang said in April that Evergreen’s plans for new ships include orders for 32 vessels of a new type with capacity of 8,000 TEUs, for 20 additional S-type (7,024-TEU) ships, for 20 additional U-type (5,364-TEU) ships and for 20 or more 2,000-TEU ships of a new type that will be used for feeder services.
The company said Friday it will make the details of the entire program public after the company completes the ongoing negotiation of both the price and the technological capability of the shipyards to meet its strict standards of environmental protection and fuel conservation.
“Evergreen's long-time commitment to environmental excellence takes yet another step forward with these newbuildings," said Bronson Hsieh, Evergreen vice group chairman and chairman of Evergreen Marine Corporation. "The emphasis on fuel conservation will work to reduce the carbon footprint we leave on this green earth.”
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