Taiwanese liner operator Evergreen Line has confirmed that it will acquire 20 container ships, each with 11,000 teu capacity. Of the total, 8 will be newbuildings and 12 will be taken on long-term bareboat charter.
In a filing to the Taiwan Stock Exchange, Evergreen said that two wholly owned subsidiaries, Greencompass Marine and Evergreen Marine (Hong Kong), would each be the registered owner of four of the newbuildings. These two subsidiaries will also be the charterers of the other 12 vessels, with these ships to be equally allocated to the entities.
Evergreen said it had shortlisted compatriot shipbuilder CSBC Corp, Japan’s Imabari Shipbuilding and Japan Marine United, and South Korea’s Hyundai Heavy Industries and Samsung Heavy Industries, of which just one would be chosen to build the ships.
With regard to the chartered-in vessels, Evergreen would not say if these were in-service ships or new vessels to be contracted on the back of long-term timecharters.
Media reports have, however, tipped Imabari as being likely to win the contract, as in 2015, Evergreen had ordered 11 18,000 teu ships through the Japanese shipbuilder’s shipowning arm, Shoei Kisen Kaisha, for long-term bareboat charter.
The 12 ships that will be taken by Evergreen on bareboat charter, if these are newbuildings, are thus likely to be head-owned by Shoei Kisen Kaisha.
Each ship is estimated to cost USD93–100 million.
According to IHS Markit’s Maritime Portal, Greencompass Marine is the registered owner of 30 of Evergreen’s ships, including 10 2,900 teu ships that are being built by CSBC Corp for delivery from 2017 to August 2018. The rest of Greencompass Marine’s ships were built from the late 1990s to 2000. Evergreen Marine (Hong Kong) is currently the registered owner of Uni-Accord, a 1997-built 1,164 teu ship that was purchased in 2003.
Evergreen Marine Corp emphasises that the aim of these newbuilding programmes is to meet future market demand and to continue with its ongoing fleet renewal.
“With the delivery of the new ships, Evergreen will redeliver older chartered vessels upon expiry of their charter periods to help optimise the efficiency of its operating fleet and enhance the competitiveness of its services,” Evergreen said in a statement.
IHS Markit has forecast that global container trade will expand by 4.9% in 2019 and the global fleet will grow by 5.6% if one-quarter of the 78 mega container ships (exceeding 10,000 teu), totalling 1.2 million teu, due for delivery, are delayed.
COSCO and Yang Ming have delayed the delivery of 200,000 teu ships from 2018 to 2019, due to overcapacity. This means that 10% of the capacity originally meant to hit the water this year has been deferred.
IHS Markit data show that Evergreen has the world’s seventh-largest fleet, standing at 1 million teu, and its orderbook, if the 12 ships are newbuildings, makes the company the largest, at 567,000 teu. If the 12 ships are not newbuildings, Evergreen’s orderbook would be the third-largest behind COSCO and CMA CGM at 435,000 teu.