London: China Cosco Holdings is in the final stages of completing a $1.4bn order for “at least” ten 19,000-teu containerships from a Chinese shipyard.
Five different shipyards are in the running to take the order, which should be finalised by the end of May, sources told the WSJ.
A source connected with the giant Chinese shipping conglomerate told Splash the funding for the ships was an acknowledgement from central authorities for Cosco’s leading role in adhering to Beijing’s ship scrapping plans. Cosco has sent 109 ships to be recycled since the start of 2013.
The new ultra-large container vessels (ULCVs) will be deployed in the Asia-Europe trade, but the order seems to have been placed more to keep pace with competitors Maersk and MSC, rather than to meet trade demand. Cosco still has reservations that it may not be able to fill the vessels, the WSJ reports.
Much of the Chinese conglomerate’s larger vessels have been chartered from Costamare or the Washington Group, so the owned larger vessels represent a slight change of direction for Cosco.
K Line would be a likely candidate to place orders for ULCVs in the future, a source told Splash.