Evergreen Line, which is one of the few container lines that has refrained from ordering new ships in recent years, plans to order 100 container ships in 2010 to expand its fleet to nearly 300, the company's founder Chang Yung-Fa told the United Daily News.
The ambitious ordering plan comes as the global financial crisis is coming to an end, Chang told the Taiwanese newspaper, according to PortWorld.
''Doing the shipping business is not running a grocery store. You have to have vision,'' Chang was quoted as saying.
Chang predicted in 2007 that a general economic recovery would not begin until 2012, so Evergreen had not invested in new ships over the past two years.
The 81-year-old Chang hopes to steer Evergreen, which is currently the world's fourth-largest container line, into becoming the world's largest container line in his lifetime, the Taiwanese daily said.
At present, the world's top five container shipping firms are A.P. Moller-Maersk, with 533 ships, Mediterranean Shipping Co (401 ships), CMA CGM (357 ships), Evergreen (157 ships) and Hapag-Lloyd (115 ships), according to AXS-Alphaliner.
Even if Evergreen increases its fleet by another 100 container ships, its world ranking could still remain at number four.
These latest expansion plans were announced even though the company had announced early in July that it would soon withdraw a sixth of its capacity in an effort to ease oversupply of tonnage in the container ship industry, confirming media reports that it planned to scrap and redeliver a total of 31 container vessels.
"Those still owned by Evergreen Group companies will be scrapped while the remainder will be redelivered back to their owners as the current charter periods end," the company said in a statement to the Taiwan Stock Exchange on July 8.
Chang was quoted at the time as saying that the withdrawal of these ships would help chip away at what he described as a “gruesome” excess of vessel capacity in the container ship industry.
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