South Korean shipbuilders are leading the ultra large containership market as well as liquefied natural gas (LNG) carrier.
Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering Co. (DSME) is planning to deliver one of five 23,000 TEU containerships ordered by Swiss-based shipping line Mediterranean Shipping Co. (MSC) in September 2017 on July 19, according to DSME on July 14. This is the same size with the world’s largest containership built by Samsung Heavy Industries Co. and delivered to MSC earlier. Previously, MSC placed an order for 11 vessels – six with Samsung Heavy and five with DSME, respectively.
There is a fine line between the ships being built by the two companies in terms of deadweight tonnage but they all can ship 23,000 containers. This ultra large vessel is priced at US$164 million (193.36 billion won) per ship. Ultra large container ships with capacity surpassing 20,000 TEU boast of high added value of 170 billion won (US$144.19 million) per vessel.
The South Korean shipbuilding industry believes that it stands out due to from the International Maritime Organization (IMO) regulations scheduled to kick off Jan. 1, 2020, to reduce sulfur oxide emission from 3.5 percent m/m to 0.5 percent m/m. In fact, the ships ordered by MSC to Samsung Heavy and DSME are LNG-ready vessels with scrubbers that can be easily remodeled into LNG-powered ones. This is why domestic shipbuilders have 56.3 percent of the total order backlogs for ultra large container vessels.
DSME has the largest cumulative order backlogs for container ships with a capacity of more than 15,000 TEU from Jan. 1 to July 5 this year at 12 and 18.8 percent, followed by Samsung Heavy with 11 and 17.2 percent. Hyundai Heavy Industries Co. came in fourth with 8 and 12.5 percent and Samho Heavy Industries Co. eighth with 5 and 7.8 percent.
In addition, the industry expects that there would be the so-called chicken game in the shipping industry to win orders to build ultra large container ships. An official from the industry said, “Currently, shipping companies can’t help but join a shipping alliance or expand competitiveness by securing ultra large container vessel deals to survive.” In fact, the industry already shows its move to place an order for ultra large container ships.
Taiwanese shipping firm Evergreen Marine Corp. is preparing to place an order to construct up to 11 23,000 TEU container ships. Germany’s Hapag-Lloyd AG is also considering ordering 6 container ships of the same size. Hapag-Lloyd AG may not place an order by the end of the year but Evergreen would order the ships within the year, according to industry sources.
Samsung Heavy and DSME announced that they have already started to prepare for bids for Evergreen. Hyundai Heavy is also forecast to participate in the tender.