Chinese shipyard New Times Shipbuilding has won 20 dual-fuelled boxship orders from MSC, which continues to expand its market-leading orderbook.
MSC has reportedly commissioned ten 8,100 TEU ships and ten 11,400 TEU ships at New Times, just a week after agreeing to long-term charters with three Japanese tonnage providers for four 23,000 TEU ships.
It is the largest order for New Times since its establishment in 2000. With these 20 ships, the current number of orders for dual-fuelled ships at New Times has reached 51 ships, with a total of 7.57 million dwt, ranking first among Chinese shipyards.
MSC, which unseated Maersk Line as the world’s largest liner operator in January, has been ordering newbuildings to expand its fleet since last year. Currently, MSC’s in-service capacity stands at 4.42 million TEU, made up of 343 owned ships and 333 chartered vessels. The Swiss-Italian operator is also leading in terms of orders, with 113 ships of 1.46 million TEU under construction, including vessels commissioned by tonnage providers.
The latest order shows that MSC appears to be more inclined to invest in LNG fuel. Previously, the new ships ordered by MSC were often LNG-ready designs. In May 2021, MSC signed a charter contract for 11 new LNG-powered 15,300 TEU container ships with Eastern Pacific Shipping (EPS), a Singaporean shipowner. These ships, being built by Hyundai Heavy Industries and Hyundai Samho Heavy Industries, with expected delivery from late 2022 to mid-2023, will be chartered to MSC for at least 18 years.
At the time, MSC chairman Gianluigi Aponte said the partnership with EPS marked a major shift in MSC's energy strategy.