Domestic shipyards are sweeping up the global ultra-large container ship market.
According to shipbuilding industry sources on May 15, total orders of 21 container ships exceeding 20,000 TEU in capacity were placed globally from the end of last year to date. A 20-foot-long (6.1 m) ISO container equals 1 TEU. Among them, domestic shipyards such as Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI), the Philippines' Subic Shipyard of of Hanjin Heavy Industries & Construction (HHIC), Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME), and Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) won 19 of the orders, virtually sweeping the market. Japan’s Imabari Shipbuilding secured the other two orders.
The 20,000 TEU container carrier can carry 20,000 containers with a length of 20 feet at a time. The ship is 400 meters long, 60 meters wide, and 35 meters deep. Its deck alone is as large as four soccer fields.
With domestic shipyards monopolizing the 20,000 TEU container ship market, SHI stands out among them. It is the first shipyard to win the orders of the most and the largest containers. The company received 10 orders, half of the total orders of container ships exceeding 20,000 TEU made in the world to date. Also, it is the first domestic shipyard to win the order for a 20,000 TEU container ship, and the largest vessel of 21,100 TEU.
HHIC’s Subic Shipyard is the second to win a 20,000 TEU ship order. The company was awarded the contract to build three ultra-large 20,600 TEU container ships from CMA CGM of France.
DSME also won the order of four mega container ships of 20,000-TEU capacity from Maersk, while HHI recently won a deal to build two 20,000 TEU container carriers from Canada's Seaspan Marine Corp.
The increase in orders for ultra-large container ships is largely due to the fact that the competition in traffic is growing more fierce between global ship companies. The mega container carrier needs 20 to 30 percent less fuel than conventional vessels so it can reduce operating costs. The industry expects that an additional 30 orders to build mega container carriers will be awarded this year.