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Category: Global Supply Chain

Global Supply Chain News: Led by MSC, Ocean Container Lines Back to Adding Lot of Capacity


Maersk Remains on Sidelines, but Others Active in New and Used Markets



June 30, 2021
SCDigest Editorial Staff

Last week, we reported that German ocean carrier Hapag-Lloyd now has on order 12 giant container megaships, as asset discipline among many carriers now seems long gone. Hapag-Lloyd had ordered six container ships earlier this year, each with capacity of above 23,500 TEU – among the largest such ships in the world.

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One carrier not succumbing to the lure of adding capacity is Maerk Line, the sector’s largest carrier, which staying out of the market – for now.


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Now it has announced another six more for an even dozen. Together, the 12 giant ships will represents nearly 15%t of the company’s current 1.7 million TEU total transport capacity. The first six vessels are scheduled for delivery in 2023, while the last six are due to arrive in 2024.

Through most of the pandemic carriers have been slow to add capacity, but with growing volumes that reluctance may be crumbling, potentially putting carriers back in the mode of increasing capacity faster than tonnage growth.

As a side note, the new ships will be able to run on either more environmentally friendly liquefied natural gas or traditional bunker fuel, a form of diesel.

Meanwhile, Switzerland-based container carrier MSC is aggressively continuing its strategy of acquiring container ship capacity on the second-hand market.

Having new ships with some 800,000 TEU in combined capacity already on order, with deliveries starting in 2022, “MSC is still on the hunt,” reports web site.

According to one ocean freight broker, the MSC’s appetite for second-hand ships is “insatiable.”

How the market has changed. MSC recently acquired a small 20-year old 5000 TEU ship, paying $50 million for it despite an appraised value of more like $37 million.

Just a year ago, The Loadstar says, a ship of that size and age would have been lucky to achieve $6 million for scrap.

Commenting on MSC’s buying spree, “It is difficult to reach any other conclusion other than this being testament to MSC’s belief that the [strong] market will continue to run well into 2022,” according to ship broker Braemar ACM.

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A few weeks ago, there was also news that Korea’s HMM has ordered a dozen new 13,000 TEU ships.

One carrier not succumbing to the lure of adding capacity is Maerk Line, the sector’s largest carrier, which staying out of the market – for now.

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