As major shipyards are more or less booked till 2025, mid-tier shipbuilders are eyeing a slice of the pie as MSC is seeking to construct two dozen 8,000 TEU container ships.
Reportedly, MSC has contacted every shipyard in South Korea and China, but few can offer delivery dates before the end of 2025. Ships of such a size are now valued at around US$117 million each.
A representative at K Shipbuilding (formerly STX Offshore & Shipbuilding) told Container News that it is marketing designs for post-Panamax container ships, having refocused on mid-sized vessels after its restructuring.
“Many liner operators have ordered large container ships at the major yards and they’re now full. So there’re opportunities for smaller yards like us to win orders,” said the contact.
Daehan Shipbuilding, another restructured mid-tier South Korean ship builder, has also produced designs for 7,000 TEU ships.
A representative there declined to say whether it had been contacted by MSC, but said that there is interest in its boxship designs.
Lately, tonnage providers and liner operators have been placing orders at mid-tier shipyards as they could offer early delivery, although they were not known to specialise in container ships.
Last December, X-Press Feeders contracted sixteen 1,170 TEU vessels at New Dayang Shipbuilding and Ningbo Xinle Shipbuilding Group of China, which had never built boxships previously. The ships will be delivered from 2023 to 2024.
MSC has a policy of not commenting on specific ship orders.
Record profits in the liner industry are tempting operators to renew their fleets, and ships in the 7,000 to 8,000 TEU range are suitable for deployment on Asia-Persian Gulf routes.