China Shipping Container Lines has upgraded the capacity of five ships on order at Hyundai Heavy Industries from 18,400 TEUs to 19,000 TEUs, the South Korean shipyard said today as it began construction of the first of the world’s largest container vessels.
Hyundai said it has started cutting steel at its Ulsan yard for the first ship, which it will hand to the Chinese carrier in November, with the remaining four scheduled for delivery by the end of the first quarter of 2015.
CSCL ordered the five ships, each costing $136.6 million, in May 2013 for deployment on its Asia-Europe service. Adding an extra 600 TEUs of capacity is not expected to significantly raise the cost of the vessels.
The increase will stretch the CSCL ships’ lead over Maersk Line’s 18,270 TEUs Triple E vessels, currently the world’s largest, which are being built by rival Korean shipyard Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine. The first of the Triple E ships have entered service; all will be deployed on the Asia-Europe trades.
The CSCL vessels will have a deck 400 meters long and be 30.5 meters high and 58.6 meters wide, the same dimensions as the Triple Es.
United Arab Shipping Company has also ordered five 18,400 TEUs ships at Hyundai, which it will deploy in partnership with CSCL on the Asia-Europe trade. It is not known whether the company will follow CSCL and upgrade its order.