Several big Asian shipping lines say they are planning to order new container ships to meet the ongoing recovery in demand for container capacity.
Hanjin Shipping, Evergreen Group and China Shipping did not give details of the ship orders but said at the annual World Shipping Summit this week in Guangzho that they expect to place orders for new vessels by 2011.
Evergreen Group is in talks to buy 10 to 12 container ships on top of 20 it ordered earlier this year, Vice Chairman Bronson Hsieh told reporters at the industry conference.
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Hsieh said he was "cautiously optimistic" for the global shipping industry next year and wanted to expand the firm's fleet to meet an expected recovery in demand. "The ships we ordered in July and September are from Samsung (Heavy Industries) and at around $100 million each. We plan to order altogether more than 30," Hsieh told reporters Monday at the conference.
He said the new ships would have capacities in the range of 8,000 20-foot container equivalent units. This size ship could either serve trans-Pacific trade or intra-Asia trade lanes. Intra-Asia demand is growing so fast it is making up for the slower growth of the U.S. and European markets, Hsieh said at The Journal of Commerce’s Trans-Pacific Maritime Conference in Shenzhen last month.
Hanjin may announce a deal for mid-size container ships by as early as year-end, Chief Executive Officer Kim Young Min said Tuesday at the World Shipping conference. Global container shipping volume may jump as much as 8 percent next year, as economic growth in the U.S. and Europe spurs demand for Asian-made goods, Kim said.
China Shipping will make an order soon, President Li Shaode said. He declined to say which type of ships the group was looking at. Separately, China Shipping also plans to announce a “major” logistics investment in coastal regions, Li said, without elaboration.
The global economy is recovering and the shipping market is “roaring,” Wei Jiafu, chairman of China Cosco Holdings, which sponsors the annual World Shipping Summit.
China Cosco has no plans to order vessels this year, and it will assess market conditions before deciding on fleet plans next year, Wei said.
Sinotrans plans to adjust orders in segments where there is overcapacity, said Sinotrans President Zhao Huxiang, who declined to elaborate. The company is China’s third- largest state-controlled shipping group behind China Cosco parent China Ocean Shipping (Group) and China Shipping.
During the recession, container lines cut capacity by laying up unneeded vessels, combining or eliminating some services and by slow-steaming the ships in other services.
With the return of global demand, the carriers have returned all of their idled ships to service, but because slow-steaming has become a permanent practice, they are finding that capacity could become tight if demand continues to grow.
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