CMA CGM will shortly put pen to paper for up to nine world-beating 22,000 teu class ships. Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding (SWS) and South Korea’s Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) are the only two companies in the final running for this landmark order.
The order will be signed within the next fortnight and the record breaking ships are expected to feature LNG dual fuel engines.
At 22,000 teu, the new class of ships would beat out the current largest boxship afloat, the OOCL Hong Kong, which was delivered from Samsung Heavy Industries earlier this year, clocking in at 21,413 teu in capacity.
The order would also give Marseille-based CMA CGM a fight back in the global liner rankings. While it currently lies third in the world, Cosco Shipping’s move last month to acquire OOCL would see it usurp CMA CGM’s position by just 15,000 slots.
CMA CGM has yet to reply to questions sent by Splash earlier today. The line last ordered at HHI two years ago, signing for six 14,000 teu ships, while its relationship with SWS is equally firm. CMA CGM ordered the first ever 18,000 teu class ships in China at that yard with the vessels delivering in 2015.
Commenting on the Splash exclusive today, Lars Jensen, founder of Seaintelligence Consulting and a regular contributor to this site, argued that ship sizes were now becoming a “cosmetic” battle among leading liners.
“They might technically become the largest vessels in the world in terms of nominal capacitybut in reality it has more been a cosmetic battle recently, with the largest vessels in the 20,000 to 22,000 teu range constantly being incrementally tweaked to get a slight bit more efficiency out of them,” Jensen said, adding: “The maximum capacity is constrained by port infrastructure, and although a few ports are presumably ready for even larger vessels, the realistic view for many right now is that the current class of mega vessels will not grow in a quantum leap but, as you can see here, through incremental design improvements tweaking volume upwards slightly.”